Analysis

Why Israel Is Working Quietly to Support Egypt’s Army
An Israeli soldier secures an area near the border between Israel and Egypt on June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
August 16, 2013
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
The Israeli government is watching the deteriorating situation in Egypt closely, and especially the Sinai Peninsula, where Islamist militants have congregated. Israel appears to be collaborating with the Egyptian military in strikes on militants in the desert border area. But Israel has a lot to lose if these missions became public knowledge. Its goal is to appear to be only sitting on the sidelines and watching to see if Egypt’s 30-day state of emergency leads to a civil war.
Israel sought to give Egypt’s interim government time to complete a peaceful transition and allow the Egyptian military to impose order after President Mohammed Morsi was deposed in a coup in July. Israel may have even pressured other governments to refrain from criticizing the military-backed transition team. But the heavy-handed crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood has been too violent for that gambit to work, so now Israel’s only choice may be to wait out the storm and monitor the situation in Cairo as a passive spectator.
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