Changes are caused by the changes in Cairo
Reader comment on: Egypt Fully Remilitarizing Sinai - with US Help
Submitted by Jerry Blaz (United States), Aug 22, 2012 18:55
I would believe that the priority Israel gives to the Sinai is indicated in the pace of completing the fence between Sinai and the Negev from the Gaza to the Red Sea, a distance of around 233 kilometers, if my memory serves me right. It has been years in its construction, and only the changes in Cairo gave the fence construction some impetus. Since the changes in Cairo, there have been around 15-16 times when the pipeline delivering gas to Israel and Jorden has been bombed, depriving Israel and Jorden with gas and depriving Egypt of income plus the costs or rebuilding the pipeline each time. Sinai (largely thanks to the former occupation of the territory by Israel) has become a tourist attraction for Egypt, with beach, swimming, boating, diving and many other attractions at Taba and at Sharm ash-Sheikh.
Recently, Sinai had become a passage to Israel by African refugees and jobseekers who paid the native Bedouin Arabs to bring them safely through the Sinai desert, and then Israelis began to object because of social problems that arose. Now they are trying to figure out what to do with the 60,000 or so Africans from many countries.
The infiltration of jihadists into the Sinai, who are able to pay the Bedouins to help them and even to participate in actions, was the latest problem to occur in Egypt. After they killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, creating great problems locally for President Mohammed Morsi, he realized he had to control the Sinai with armed forces. In coordination with the Israeli government, he introduced greater numbers of police and army with armor. According to some reports, the Israelis are having second thoughts of having Egyptian tanks so close to Israel. While it is in the northern part of the Sinai that the refugees traveled, the pipeline was bombed, and most of the jihadist actions have occurred there, putting the entire Sinai is at risk. Yet it give the town of El Arish on the Mediterannean coast that is of most importance both to the Egyptians and the jihadists.
Egypt has placed stronger controls on the border between Gaza and Egypt because they are convinced that Gaza is the source of the jihadists. There is no doubt that the two sides are going to have to consider what steps they must take to pacify the Sinai and keep the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in force.
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