Which Egypt is the real Egypt?
Today Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke by telephone to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and reportedly reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to maintaining the 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel. Egypt wants to strengthen its forces for counter-terror operations in Sinai, where a recent attack by terrorists left 16 Egyptians dead. Israel had learned of the attack, which was meant to cross Israel’s border, and warned Egypt, but the Egyptians ignored the warning.
Earlier this week there were reports that Egypt had moved anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles into the Sinai Peninsula without Israel’s permission, which is prohibited by the Camp David accords. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel must ensure that “every letter of the peace treaty is enforced”, which implied that Egypt should keep their forces out of the Sinai.
Al-Sisi’s phone call may have been triggered by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who warned Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr on Wednesday to insure military moves in the Sinai were transparent.
Yet there are other winds blowing that would indicate Egypt may be playing a cunning double game; an Egyptian expert on strategic matters and security, Gen. Talat Muslim, told the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party that the Camp David accords should have been changed immediately after they were signed, that the best current solution was to place security forces along the border with the “Israeli enemy.” He also recommended placing fighter jets, tanks and heavy weapons in the Sinai Peninsula.
How much of the al-Sisi call was orchestrated by Clinton is unclear. What is clear is that whatever he said, there are forces still bent on Israel’s destruction within the Egyptian government.