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The Egyptian guessing game

Reader comment on item: Uncertain times in the Middle East

Submitted by Rebecca Moulds (United States), Aug 21, 2011 at 08:01

Recently I returned from a trip to South Sinai. The drive from Cairo to Dahab took about six hours. The Sinai Peninsula is heavily militarized; we had to stop at as many as eight military check-points each way during the journey, showing our passports. There are "ducks" or Saracens poised, with armed soldiers, at every check-point.

Taba was a particularly heavily-guarded point. I was informed that the Egyptians are looking for Israelis illegally crossing over the border, as well as searching for possible terrorists from around the region. With an eye on keeping both Israelis and terrorists out, Egypt is doing what it does best: playing both sides to its advantage. Who are the Egyptians protecting? Their own interests? The tourists? The terrorists? It's always been a guessing game on who's side Egypt is on. We supply Egypt with financial and military aid, but it only wants our dollars, not our interference in their political agenda.

There is growing fear that Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, are trying valiantly to push their agenda as the ruling party. So far, they haven't succeeded, but these are still early days, and they aren't about to give up their struggle now. Elections have been postponed until sometime between October and November. Until---or more honestly, unless--we pin down where Egypt's loyalties lie, this game will go on indefinitely, until the rumbling volcano can no longer be suppressed.


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