Egypt, Israel quietly cooperating in northern Sinai

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The rise of the Islamic State continues to produce some otherwise unorthodox and widely unforeseen partnerships, such as the one between former bitter enemies Egypt and Israel.

Quietly, the two countries have been cooperating to purge the Northern Sinai of Islamic militant groups loyal to ISIS. Over the past couple of years, militants have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police officers, which raised alarms across the border in Israel.

In response, Jerusalem began launching strikes against the militants using unmarked armed drones and fighter jets, conducting more than 100 strikes inside Egypt thus far — and all with the approval of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The cooperation is in and of itself remarkable, given that the two nations have fought three wars and have had a tenuous peace for most of the past two decades.

But the cooperation has been mutually beneficial. The strikes have allowed Israel to shore up its own border security while providing Egypt an opportunity to regain its footing against the militants. [source]

Analysis: Shared enemies like ISIS, Iran, and politicized Islam have brought several Arab countries together — along with Israel — in cooperation, despite the fact that leaders of the Arab nations continue to criticize and demonize the Jewish state in public. That said, the increased cooperation is also having some unexpected consequences for the Mideast Peace process, in that some Israeli leaders are now convinced that Egypt is reliant on its better-armed and more powerful Jewish neighbor to control its own turf. In the end, however, cooperation is always better than conflict, especially in a part of the world that is extremely volatile anyway. The question is whether it will last once ISIS is finally rendered moot and Iran contained. 

 

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