An Israeli report has praised Egypt’s intervention in managing the Syrian crisis and its efforts to rein in Iran’s influence in the country in a manner which serves Tel Aviv’s interests.
In an article titled “In Blow to Iran, Egypt Becomes Surprise New Player in Syria”
Arab affairs analyst for Haaretz, Zvi Bar’el, said that Egypt “received Saudi and Russian permission to conduct negotiations between the rebel militias and the regime, both in Ghouta Al-Sharqiya [east of Damascus] and the northern neighbourhoods in the city of Homs. In both cases, it managed to get a cease-fire deal signed – in the former on July 22, in the latter in early August.”
The two areas fall on the map of de-escalation zones that Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to establish, in coordination with the US.
Tel Aviv considers Egypt’s intervention as important because “any country engaged in blocking Iran’s influence in Syria serves Israel’s interests. But that’s especially true when said country is Egypt, which is Israel’s partner in the war on terror in Sinai and an ally [together with Saudi Arabia and Jordan] with whom it sees eye to eye about both the Iranian threat and the danger of Syria disintegrating into cantons.”
The report credits President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi with Egypt’s involvement as he has repeatedly stated that he “supports national armies in solving crises in the region and maintaining security,” unlike his predecessor Mohammed Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood who severed Egypt’s relations with Syria.
Al-Sisi also stated that “Assad is part of the solution” in Syria and allowed Egypt’s intelligence chief to meet publicly with his Syrian counterpart, Ali Mamlouk, in Cairo. The meeting took place in October 2016, but according to Arab media several other meetings between senior Egyptian and Syrian officials have already taken place over the past year.