A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ratcheting Up the Tensions in Sinai

The militant attack on an Egyptian border post in Sinai that left 16 Egyptian border police dead as the jihadist attacker sought to enter Israel has escalated tensions, already high, along the Sinai-Gaza and Sinai-Israeli borders. Security in Sinai has been deteriorating rapidly since Egypt's revolution, and now the inevitable terrorist attack has both raised tensions with Israel and directly challenged Egyptian sovereignty.

It is also a direct challenge to President Muhammad Morsi, distrusted by the Israelis because of his Muslim Brotherhood background. Sinai was among many areas he pledged to address if elected, but restoration of order there (where Egyptian military forces are limited by the demilitarization clauses of the peace treaty with Israel) will be a difficult task. But if provocations increase, Israel will be tempted to undertake the task itself. The new government in Egypt would probably prefer a breathing space to get organized in Cairo before having to turn to Sinai, but this incident emphasizes that they will not enjoy that luxury.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

Barak referred to this as a wake-up call for Israel. I'm not sure about that, but it is a wake-up call for Mursi and the Muslim Brothers. They need to start the hard work of governing.