The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in Egypt’s recent presidential election has stirred fears among decision makers in Tel Aviv regarding the future of Egyptian-Israeli political, security, and economic relations.
In an editorial piece published by Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday, Israeli political analyst, Alex Fishman, wrote that, “following Morsi’s rise to power, everything is open and unclear” and that the control of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces–headed by Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi-was temporary and would not last for more than a year and a half. “Israel should be prepared for every eventuality,” he wrote, including “an Islamist intelligence minister, a re-examination of the peace accords, a collapse of the economic agreements, and lack of security co-ordination.”
Fishman went on to assert that eventually, either for constitutional reasons or for reasons based on the sentiments of the Egyptian people, Islamists would come to control the sensitive ministries and ‘the real face of Egypt’ would be revealed.
This, according to Fishman, has triggered the concerns of Western intelligence bodies, including Israeli Intelligence Agency, the Mossad. What is at stake here is a box containing a lot of embarrassing information; so embarrassing that it would dwarf revelation made by the Wikileaks documents.
On the strategic harms that Tel Aviv could face in the future by losing its most important ally in the region, Fishman suggests that as the new Egyptian regime attempts to revive the economy, hunger will initially become widespread which could lead to chaos, violence and disorder. This would include the border area between Egypt and a possible Palestine, except that the new Egypt, ruled by Islamists, will not be a channel for dialogue with the Palestinians, and neither will it be a channel for security dialogue with Hamas.
Fishman anticipated that Egypt would get rid of the ‘economic life jacket’, and that it would not make any major amendments to its Peace Treaty with Israel within the next two years given that the latter was the result of an Egyptian decision to try to attract Western money into the country. As such, it would be quite a surprise if the new Egyptian regime sought to violate the treaty. Fishman also anticipated that Egypt would not bring up the issue of a “military attaché” with the Israelis; as such discussions would mean acknowledging the legitimacy of the Peace Treaty.
Fishman concluded his reading of the future of Egyptian-Israeli relations with the assertion that Egypt had not suddenly become an enemy threat to Israel, but that Israeli intelligence must deal with its old friend as a country that should be re-examined from scratch.