Thursday, August 23, 2012

Developments in Iran and Sinai Deepen Israel's Worries About Egypt

JERUSALEM — With Egypt’s new Islamist president headed to Iran next week and its military deploying tanks in the Sinai Peninsula — possibly outside the parameters of his nation’s 33-year-old treaty with Israel — officials here are increasingly worried about what has long been their most critical regional relationship.

Israel’s Defense Ministry and military have each sent several messages of concern to Cairo in recent days about Sinai, and received no response, a senior government official said Wednesday. That breakdown in communication, two weeks after a deadly terrorist attack along the border between the nations, comes alongside President Mohamed Morsi’s announcement that he will defy the West and break with Egyptian precedent to attend a summit meeting of nonaligned nations in Tehran, complicating Israeli and American efforts to define Iran as a pariah state because of its nuclear program.

When Egypt’s longtime leader, Hosni Mubarak, was toppled last year, Israel worried about the loss of a dependable strongman who had helped preserve a reliable if chilly peace. Read More