August 25, 2011 | Quote

Israel’s Egypt Problem

This is troubling news, if in fact the report is accurate. Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies tells me that “while this story must be verified, it should be taken seriously.” He observes, “The development itself should be viewed as very dangerous. The Egypt-Israel border could become a dangerous place. Both al-Qaeda and Hamas would like nothing more than to foment violence that imperils the fragile peace of three decades between the two countries.” It is not clear that Egypt post-Mubarak has found a way, as Schanzer puts it, “ to temper their strong populist impulses in this volatile region.”

A Middle East hand is likewise troubled by what he calls “a genuine Sinai problem.” He explains: “The Egyptian Army is concentrating on Alexandria, Cairo, and other cities. It has largely lost control of Sinai, where the old combination of Bedouin gangs (smuggling has long been just about their only form of economic activity) and Hamas smugglers is now being joined by other terrorist groups. It isn’t the border but all of Sinai that is the problem.” He suggests, “For Israel, one remedy is clearly to build a fence, just as they did to stop West Bank terrorists.”

Issues:

Egypt Israel