Egypt: Israel to Support Sisi’s Regime*
A number of Israeli think tanks, researchers and pundits called for the Egyptian regime, led by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, to be supported to enhance its ability to confront Islamist groups.
The Institute of National Security Strategies (INSS), one of Israel’s leading think tanks, urged decision-making circles in Tel Aviv to increase military, intelligence and political assistance to Sisi’s regime so as to enable it to win over Islamists in Egypt and Sinai.
In a research paper published on its website on Wednesday entitled “Egypt’s war in the Sinai Peninsula: A Struggle that Goes beyond Egypt“, INSS stressed that it is important for Israel to employ its political and diplomatic capabilities in order to convince the United States to enhance its support for Sisi’s regime.
INSS emphasised how it is significant for Israel that Al-Sisi succeed in his campaign against militant Islamists, noting that the Egyptian regime’s failure would mean that these groups would “continue to operate directly against Israel”.
The paper provided evidence to the Egyptian army’s significant role for Israeli security interests by pointing to an incident in which a member of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis “was killed by the Egyptians before he could carry out his plan” of bombing Israeli targets amid the latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.
The INSS paper also noted that Al-Sisi’s success in winning over Islamist militants in Egypt would weaken such groups in other countries in the region:
“The success of the Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi government in providing an effective response to the offensive by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis and its partners will also affect the ability of other countries in the region – Libya, Yemen, Jordan and others – to contend with Salafist jihadi elements. Such success will also serve to hinder the impression of an unstoppable, threatening force created by IS [ISIS} conquests,” the paper read.
In an article published in the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon, Bar-Ilan University Professor Dr Yehuda Balanga also called for increasing Israeli support for Sisi’s regime. Balanga warned that if Al-Sisi fails in his war against Wilayat Sinai, which represents the Islamic State (ISIS) group, Sinai will turn into an arena for launching war against Israel.
Balanga also wrote that if Wilayat Sinai gains momentum, it will operate against Al-Sisi in the heart of Egypt and overthrow him, which would have negative strategic implications for Israeli’s national security.
In Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse, Israeli commentator Ben Caspit wrote that Israel already provided decisive support for Al-Sisi by authorising Egypt “to operate heavy weapons and introduce arms into Sinai ordinarily prohibited there according to their peace treaty.”
He noted that Al-Sisi is serving Israeli interests by seeking to weaken Hamas and said he expected the Sisi regime to “continue to intensify” its war on Hamas “in the weeks and months to come”.
“Sisi knows that if he does not succeed in overcoming the deadly, recalcitrant terrorist elements in Sinai, it will be the beginning of the end of his regime,” Caspit wrote.