On Israel’s sudden interest in its neighbours’ domestic policies

Interesting little fact: during Morsi’s short, months-old tenure as Egypt’s president, there have been more attacks on Egyptian troops in Sinai than in Mubarak’s tenure as President for 30 years.

The reason: not Israeli troops firing into Egypt, but because of an increased presence of Islamist forces in the Sinai region.

Interestingly enough, Israel has suddenly found that its safety is highly reliant on Egypt’s stability, and that unless the Sinai region is secured, Israel will continue to face pesky attacks from its Western neighbour.

The solution seems simple enough: beef up security in the Sinai peninsula, and vigorously pursue those militants to cleanse the area. As always, easier said than done; however, the interesting little caveat here is that Sinai must remain as a demilitarized zone, according to the 1979 Camp David Peace Accord between Egypt and Israel. For years, analysts and political commentators have decried this treaty as very one-sided and favouring Israel. Perhaps, in this situation, Egypt seems to be the losing side of the deal, however, it is actually Israel that seems to be in quite the predicament.

Sinai has always been a contentious issue between Israel and Egypt, and has always been a topic of discussion and negotiation in the two countries’ dealings.

 

Sinai’s deteriorating security situation forces Israel to do one of two things: arrogantly intervene in Egypt’s domestic affairs by telling it how it should be running security in Sinai (as seen here) and subsequently beef up IDF forces on the Western border of Israel, or allow for a modification of the Peace Accord for increased Egyptian military presence in the Sinai. There is a third option which is quite simply to invade the Sinai and secure the region itself. While this is possible, it is not likely since it would force Egypt to respond militarily, and Israel would be forced to direct its resources into a war with its most powerful neighbour.

But in either scenario, Israel is left with a difficult decision to make, especially if it allows for a modification in the 1979 peace treaty. The increased rhetoric of Ahmadinejad in Iran, the destabilization of Syria under the Assad regime, and the stranglehold of the Brotherhood in Egypt makes the militarization of the Sinai the last thing you want to happen. It makes Israel a sitting duck between three very anxious and possibly trigger-happy sides.

Possible Brotherhood involvement

I’m not one to buy into conspiracy theories, but if one was to assess the situation objectively, you’d have to say that increased destabilization of Sinai was never good for Israel. If that’s the case, then one must assess whether that destabilization came as a result of a natural breakdown of security in Sinai, or if it was promoted or allowed by a Muslim Brotherhood plan meant to provoke Israel into war or re-militarizing the Sinai as a way of keeping Israel on a military leash (the more likely scenario).

It’s not an entirely impossible scenario, but then again, it would involve an awful lot of planning and organization (and balls of steel) to pull off a plan like this…something that I’m not prepared to give the Muslim Brotherhood credit for at this point in time.

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