Egypt snub is not bad news


Egypt's new president, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was sworn in on Sunday in a ceremony in Cairo. Leaders from across the Middle East were invited except for those of four countries: Syria, Turkey, Qatar and Israel.

Syria's omission was expected; President Bashar Assad is shunned as the leader who is butchering his own people with impunity.

Turkey and Qatar were left out for more political reasons. The government in Ankara and the Emirate in Doha are the main supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which, until a year ago, held power in Egypt before being dislodged by a military coup lead by el-Sisi.

The absence of an Israeli leader is not an indication of a low level of relations between Jerusalem and Cairo; quite the opposite. "Things have not been as good between us and Egypt in a long while," said one Israeli official this week, "much better not to draw too much attention to that with a high-profile visit right now to Cairo."

The military co-operation between the two governments, in particular, is evident in recent Egyptian successes against the Islamist terror group in Sinai, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, including killing the group's leader in an air-strike.

The Egyptians have also played a central role in greatly limiting the number of missiles fired by Palestinian groups from Gaza against Israeli targets.

Neither side talks much about this but the head of the IDF's Intelligence Research division, Brigadier-General Itai Brun, said on Monday that "there is a reduction in attacks from Sinai, mainly due to the activity of the Egyptian army."

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu separately phoned Field Marshal el-Sisi to congratulate on his election victory.

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