Suez Canal Security On "High Alert" Amid Escalating Tensions
The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority is coordinating a "high alert" military response as protests escalate against President Morsi. The army and navy stepped up patrols of the 190-kilometer (118-mile) canal linking the Red and Mediterranean seas about a week ago, he said. "Closing the canal outright would be very difficult without the support of the military," Barclays notes as the army and navy steps up patrols of the 190km canal.
While unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak, Mursi’s predecessor, failed to halt traffic last year, fewer vessels passed along the canal. An average of 1,435 ships a month used the link, the lowest figure since 2005. So far, traffic is "normal and has not faced any disruptions."
The canal handles about 8 percent of seaborne trade, according to Barclays. It carried about 4.5 percent of global trade in oil in 2011, the bank said. The waterway also carries about 14 percent of liquefied natural gas cargoes, the note showed.
About 800,000 barrels of crude and 1.4 million barrels of refined fuels passed along the canal daily in 2011, the bank said, citing data from the U.S. Energy Department. An adjacent pipeline carried an additional 1.7 million barrels a day, it said.
The canal was shut for several months during the Suez Crisis, when the U.K., France and Israel invaded Egypt in 1956 in an effort to prevent the link from being nationalized. The waterway closed for eight years a decade later, forcing oil tankers to head around South Africa to deliver cargoes.
And perhaps just as important, Haaretz reports that Israel agrees to Egypt troop movements in Sinai.
Egypt is believed to have moved several dozen armored vehicles to the volatile border; Muslim Brotherhood calls supporters to take to the streets.
Israel's military said Tuesday that Egypt has moved forces into the border area near the Gaza Strip in coordination with Israel.
With unrest sweeping the country, Egypt is believed to have moved several dozen armored vehicles to the volatile border area to contain militant activity. The Israeli military gave no details.
Under a 1979 peace treaty, Egypt is required to coordinate any special military activity in the area with Israel.
In a statement Tuesday, the Israeli army said "the Egyptian military activity in Sinai is coordinated with Israeli security elements and authorized at the most senior levels in Israel, to contend with security threats in Sinai that pose a threat to both Israel and Egypt."
Morsi's fate may now be sealed.
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