A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Egypt's Role in the Shalit Deal: The Post-Suleiman GIS

Exactly which factors contributed most to the conclusion of the Shalit deal now rather than at any of the several times in recent years  when it seemed near may not be known for a while. One factor I think may have contributed is the fact that Egypt's relations with Hamas have improved since the fall of Husni Mubarak and the departure of ‘Omar Suleiman, the longtime head of Egypt's General Intelligence Service.

It was still the GIS which brokered the deal; it is the one Egyptian agency that still has solid ties to Israel, but with Suleiman gone from the scene (Murad Mawafi now heads the GIS), relations with Hamas apparently have improved. Suleiman had a deep and poorly concealed contempt for Hamas, which doubtless proved an impediment to Egypt's effort to be an honest broker.

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