Egypt's Leaders View Israel as an Ally

(Al-Monitor) Ben Caspit - Egypt's higher stratums view Israel as an important, powerful ally in regional struggles. Egyptian President Sisi, in an interview with the Washington Post in March 2015, said he speaks to Prime Minister Netanyahu frequently, sometimes several times a month. In reality, Sisi talks to Netanyahu even more than that, and not only to Netanyahu. On the list of Egypt's close allies, Israel is a front-runner. Many of the interests of the two countries have converged and complement one another. Even the list of enemies held by Israel and Egypt includes the same names, more or less. "Sisi understands the situation," said a high-ranking Israeli security source. "He knows exactly whom he can trust in the region and whom he can't. He knows what's good for Egypt and, under the correct circumstances, what's good for Egypt is also good for Israel." Sisi is also well-acquainted with Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. They once served in parallel positions in the Israel Defense Forces and the Egyptian army and their cooperation extends over many years. Intelligence information is almost totally shared between the sides with regard to the struggle against the Islamic State (IS) branch in the Sinai Peninsula. Israel and Egypt also rely on one another in their joint struggle against Hamas. According to a high-placed Israeli military source, "The efficacy of the Egyptian army in its war against IS is gradually improving. This is true for intelligence, for preciseness and for rapid response. The Egyptians know that Gaza's Hamas provides IS with military experts, they know that wounded Sinai IS operatives are treated in Gaza, they know that there is a direct, close connection between the sides. Thus, they try to block all passageways between the Gaza Strip and Sinai."

2016-03-03 00:00:00

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