Lisa Liel

The US, Sinwar, and Rafah

Image created by Lisa Liel, used with permission

This is going to sound like a conspiracy theory. But it’s not. It’s a reasoned conclusion from everything we’ve seen.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s a conclusion that has occurred to our leaders.

The two big questions are these:

  • Why is the United States so emotionally brittle, nearly hysterical, about us going into Rafah?
  • Why didn’t we start the invasion in Rafah instead of leaving it until the end?

Why has the US lost its mind about us going into Rafah?

I addressed this question about a month and a half ago in a Substack piece called “Why is Rafah off limits?” at a time when people weren’t really noticing — or at least not commenting publicly on — the extreme lack of rational thinking and behavior on the part of the Americans when it came to Rafah.

I suggested there that the behavior of the US administration is best explained by their having been aiding Hamas for the past decade or more, behind the scenes. And that we were going to find concrete evidence of that in Rafah.

This explained not only why they were so emotionally brittle about us going into Rafah. Because they believe, wrongly, that if we find out about it, we’ll expose their perfidy to the whole world.

I say “wrongly,” because sadly, the State of Israel lacks the national self-esteem to do any such thing. I think we all realize that if Israel were to uncover such a thing, it would be kept out of the public eye, out of fear of an irreparable break with the US.

In any case, while I believe that I was close to the truth, I missed it by a bit.

Why didn’t we start the invasion in Rafah?

We know that Hamas was getting resupplied through Rafah. We knew it long before this war started. Militarily, the smart thing to do would have been to start the war by cutting that off at the source, and then moving northwards. Or leaving a base in the Philadelphi Corridor and continuing the invasion in the north and proceed southward.

It boggles the mind that this hasn’t been pointed out by more people. Not only would this have at least partially crippled their war effort in the rest of the strip, it might well have reduced the number of rockets Hamas has been firing into Israel.

So why didn’t we do that? I believe the explanation is that the American military personnel who are ensconsed in the Kirya dissuaded us from doing so.

My suspicion is that they told us it would only get the Egyptians riled up for no reason. And they may have promised to pressure Egypt to clamp down on the smuggling in Rafah. I’m quite sure they didn’t say, “Look, we can’t have you poking your noses into Rafah, since it’ll be a big embarrassment for America.” But that’s almost certainly what they were thinking.

They might even have promised that once we got down to Rafah, they’d push Egypt to let some of the Gazans out into the Sinai.

What I got wrong, and how Sinwar is constantly a step ahead of us

Back at the beginning of April, I was thinking that the US fear was of Israel finding servers or documents or the like that would expose their covert support of Hamas. But then I thought about the al-Shifa Hospital. We took forever to go into Shifa, and by the time we got there, they had moved everything out, and cemented up the tunnels. So we found very little. Fortunately, we were smart enough to leave, wait for them to reoccupy Shifa, and then return without any announcement and land the biggest catch of terrorists of the entire war.

We took even longer going into Rafah than we did going into Shifa, and the US had plenty of time to remove or destroy any incriminating records. So it had to be something else.

But then Sinwar kept eluding us once we went into Rafah. It’s been reported that every time we get close to him, he somehow disappears at the last minute. Almost like someone is warning him.

“Almost like.”


The one thing that explains all of these oddities is that Yahya Sinwar has a complete dossier of all of the times the US has helped Hamas since 2011. And that he’s holding that over the heads of the US administration. Blackmailing them, in effect. If Sinwar is killed or captured, that information goes public, and the US simply can’t have that. It would be an international scandal that would destroy whatever legacies Barack Obama and Joe Biden might still have.

And the same US military staff who are… well, ensconsed is probably a bad term. The US military personnel who are occupying the Kirya, insisting on access to everything, controlling who gets promoted to IDF brass and ensuring that it’s only officers who are amenable to US direction, know every time we locate Sinwar. And they are almost certainly warning him off so that he stays a step ahead of us.

And those warnings? They’re going into the dossier as well. So every time they warn him off, his leverage over them grows and grows.

Joe Biden is getting mad. Or going mad. Or both.

I don’t remember the last time a US administration has gone so utterly bonkers, sacrificing any sort of pretense of neutrality and treating Israel like an enemy. Even Barack Obama’s enmity during his first two terms in office weren’t as extreme as this. As Caroline Glick put it, the US has gone from “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” to “we negotiate for terrorists.”

As I said, this may sound like a conspiracy theory, but without it, we’re left with three questions that have no answers

  • Why didn’t we start this invasion in Rafah?
  • Why has the US administration gone off the deep end about us going into Rafah
  • How is Sinwar managing to elude us over and over?

Maybe someone else has a better answer that explains these three issues. But I think the answer is clear.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.