Egypt's New Role

(Washington Post) Dennis Ross- Egypt has signaled a new - even unprecedented - readiness to play an intensive leading role in ending the Israeli-Palestinian war. In Egyptian eyes, Prime Minister Sharon's intention to withdraw from Gaza has created an opening, and Egypt is determined to act on it. The last thing Egypt wants is to have Gaza devolve into chaos or become dominated by Hamas. Stability in Egypt will not be served by either possibility. Today the PA in Gaza does not function on security matters. There are different security organizations, tied to different factions of Fatah, and with different strongmen, as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Arafat will never willingly surrender control over the security forces and is also loath to let anyone else appear to be the liberator of Gaza. The Egyptian timetable of two months for Arafat to concede on the consolidation of Palestinian security forces suggests to some that the Egyptians are reluctant to push too hard when they believe the U.S. administration is otherwise occupied.

2004-07-02 00:00:00

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