Strengthened Saudi-Egypt Ties May Serve Israeli Interests

(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon - The growing relationship between Saudi Arabia and Egypt is definitely in Israel's interests, said Yitzhak Levanon, Israel's ambassador to Cairo from 2009 to 2011. The Saudis are positioning themselves for a leadership role in the new Middle East, he said, and "understand that they need Egypt. It is the biggest country, with the strongest army and great influence." Eran Lerman, former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel's National Security Council, says the Saudi-Egyptian move strengthens the regional forces for stability, a camp that includes Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The transfer of the islands in the Straits of Tiran from Egypt to Saudi Arabia "is clearly part of a larger bargain to bind the two countries together. From our perspective, anything that helps Egyptian stability is good." In exchange the Egyptian economy will get a cash infusion of billions of dollars, he said. In addition, this will likely draw Egypt closer to Saudi Arabia's position on Iran, which is much closer to Israel's position on the matter. The anger in Egypt that accompanied the announcement that emerged in the social media was largely orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, he added. The Brotherhood sees Egyptian-Saudi cooperation as harming its own fading designs for regional hegemony. And in this case, what is bad for the Muslim Brotherhood is good for Israel.

2016-04-18 00:00:00

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