is director of the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC, and a former consultant to the EU civil police training mission in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (EUPOLCOPPS). He writes frequently about contemporary Egyptian political and security affairs.
Sinai moves to centre-stage
Geoffrey Aronson, 30 August 2012
For more than 30 years, the Sinai peninsula was a stable security backwater, requiring little attention from Egypt and Israel, or from the broader international community including the United States, the strategic anchor of the peaceful relations between the two countries.
This complacency is no longer tenable. The Sinai, a triangular peninsula in Egypt about 60,000 km2
in area, bordering Israel, the Gaza Strip, the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba, is increasingly unstable, as a consequence of dramatic changes in the region and a long history of neglect and discrimination by the central government in Cairo. The collapse of the old order in Sinai creates new threats to Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian security. The existing frameworks for bilateral and multilateral consultation and monitoring were devised to preserve an environment that no longer exists. The transformations taking place in Sinai (including the Gaza Strip) across multiple fronts, and the new relationships created between these developments and the unfolding revolution in Cairo, are harbingers of a new and different relationship between Israel and Egypt that risks challenging core elements of the foundational alliance between Israel and Egypt.