Egypt’s “Cold Peace” with Israel Might Be Warming Up

Sept. 15 2021

On Monday, Naftali Bennett visited Egypt to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi—the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to the country since 2011. Efraim Inbar comments on the meeting’s significance.

Egypt broke the Arab taboo on relations with Israel when it signed a peace treaty in March 1979. Nevertheless, Egypt has been reluctant to implement “normalization” clauses in the peace treaty, maintaining a “cold peace” with Israel. Cairo has discouraged its citizens from interactions with Israelis. Until recently, when the government’s tone somewhat softened, it hardly changed the curriculum in the Egyptian education system regarding Israel. Government-controlled media has remained hostile and occasionally anti-Semitic. There has been some cooperation between the two countries in agriculture and energy, and for a while, Israeli tourists were welcome in Egypt. But the narrow bilateral ties primarily were conducted via military channels.

The fanfare around the Abraham Accords, as well as the fact that Israel has a new prime minister, probably made it easier for Cairo to invite Bennett. So did the cumulative impact of enhanced covert security cooperation in recent years between Egypt and Israel. The two countries share a burgeoning common strategic agenda. . . . Undoubtedly, Cairo and Jerusalem think alike about the Afghanistan debacle and the regional implications of American retreat from the Middle East: primarily the reinvigoration of Muslim extremists around the world.

To Inbar, the recent meeting may signal a move toward a warmer peace.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Camp David Accords, Egypt, General Sisi

 

Is the Attempt on Salman Rushdie’s Life Part of a Broader Iranian Strategy?

Aug. 18 2022

While there is not yet any definitive evidence that Hadi Matar, the man who repeatedly stabbed the novelist Salman Rushdie at a public talk last week, was acting on direct orders from Iranian authorities, he has made clear that he was inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Rushdie’s murder, and his social-media accounts express admiration for the Islamic Republic. The attack also follows on the heels of other Iranian attempts on the lives of Americans, including the dissident activist Masih Alinejad, the former national security advisor John Bolton, and the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was held hostage by the mullahs for over two years, sees a deliberate effort at play:

It is no coincidence this flurry of Iranian activity comes at a crucial moment for the hitherto-moribund [nuclear] negotiations. Iranian hardliners have long opposed reviving the 2015 deal, and the Iranians have made a series of unrealistic and seemingly ever-shifting demands which has led many to conclude that they are not negotiating in good faith. Among these is requiring the U.S. to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in its entirety from the State Department’s list of terror organizations.

The Biden administration and its European partners’ willingness to make concessions are viewed in Tehran as signals of weakness. The lack of a firm response in the shocking attack on Salman Rushdie will similarly indicate to Tehran that there is little to be lost and much to be gained in pursuing dissidents like Alinejad or so-called blasphemers like Sir Salman on U.S. soil.

If we don’t stand up for our values when under attack we can hardly blame our adversaries for assuming that we have none. Likewise, if we don’t erect and maintain firm red lines in negotiations our adversaries will perhaps also assume that we have none.

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Read more at iNews

More about: Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy