Israel is worried about growing military cooperation between Russia and Egypt, a high-ranking government source from Israel told BBC when asked to comment on the results of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Moscow.
On Wednesday, al-Sisi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. One of the topics of their meeting was further steps to develop military cooperation. The presidents also discussed preparations for a contract on Rosatom building the first nuclear power plant in Egypt.
They in Israel are worried that the supply of modern Russian arms to Egypt may cause even higher instability in the Middle East. The Israelis fear that the Egyptians will be supplied with S-300 systems and other surface-to-air missiles capable of hitting targets in the Israeli territory. Some Israelis believe that al-Sisi’s visit was meant for the Americans, with whom he has quite complicated relations.
According to an analyst from Ynet, a former Israeli colonel Ron Ben-Yishai, at the times of Hosni Mubarak Israel and Egypt enjoyed quite good economic ties. Now, under al-Sisi, the countries are reducing their economic ties, but instead they are enlarging their military contacts.
Israel welcomes Egypt’s tough attitude with respect to Hamas in Gaza, while Egypt pins certain hopes on Israeli lobby in the United States. Al-Sisi is not on very good terms with Obama as the US President prefers Mubarak and contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood.
BBC quotes Ben-Yishai as saying that Egypt is acting as a strong regional power, but, in fact, the key to the safe with money is in the hands of Saudi Arabia. In their turn, the Saudis seek to weaken Iran and therefore are ready to strengthen Egypt.
In Israel this is termed as a comprehensive regional policy. This is one of those few cases when the interests of Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia coincide.
EADaily deems it necessary to note that Israel’s serious concern about developing Russian-Egyptian military contacts has no grounds. Today Israel and Egypt have no serious contradictions. In Sinai, they have even become allies in the face of Palestinian radicals and Islamic extremists. The only scenario for Russian arms to be used against Israel is that they may get into the hands of Islamist fighters in Sinai. All other possibilities cannot be taken seriously and are just speculations fueled by some western mass media.