August 26, 2011

Egypt Remilitarizes the Sinai

Going from bad to worse: "Thirty years of peace with Egypt have rested, above all, on a demilitarized Sinai."
Israel Will Permit Egypt to Deploy Troops in Sinai The Economist
"Sometimes you have to subordinate strategic considerations to tactical needs," says Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister. This is one such time: Mr. Barak, backed by the current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is going to agree to Egypt deploying thousands of troops in Sinai even though the Israel-Egypt peace treaty strictly forbids it. They will have helicopters and armored vehicles, Barak says, but no tanks beyond the lone battalion already stationed there.
  Israel faces a dilemma with far-reaching strategic consequences. Thirty years of peace with Egypt have rested, above all, on a demilitarized Sinai. The peninsula is patrolled by an international force and monitored by America from the air, to ensure that both sides keep their armies out, even though Sinai is sovereign Egyptian soil. Until now, Israel had  said no to Egyptian demands t o let more troops on to the peninsula, beyond what is specified in the 1979 peace treaty. Yet it urgently needs Egypt to tighten security.
The decision comes after an audacious attack on August 18th on Israeli vehicles travelling on a scenic road that hugs the Israel-Egypt border and ends at the resort town of Eilat. Eight Israelis, civilians and soldiers, died in the attack and in shoot-outs involving the army. Ten attackers were killed, two apparently by Egyptian border guards, six of whom were also killed in the crossfire. Egypt blamed Israel for the deaths. Israel replied that a hard-core group of Palestinians, all heavily armed, had entered Egypt’s Sinai peninsula from Gaza a month ago, camped and trained there, and made their way unhindered across open desert to the site of the attack. Egyptian and Israeli security sources believe that several militants operating in Sinai joined them to take part in the attacks.
Egyptian military took part on the attacks on Israel. How many will join the war againt the Jewish state once its militarized?
This is very worrisome.

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