America's Dictator In Egypt Faces Dangerous Dilemma Over Rafah

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Jun 01, 2024 - 11:35 AM

The Egyptian populace's anger could soon boil over if the Abdel Fattah Al Sisi government doesn't form a tougher response to Israel's offensive in Rafah. Israeli forces now have direct control of the about nine-mile Gaza-Egypt border, and this led to a flare-up in tensions as on Monday a rare shootout between IDF and Egyptian border troops resulted in two Egyptian soldiers killed.

The 45-year long peace treaty between the two Mideast neighbors is under severe threat. This is not necessarily due to any willingness of President Sisi to start open hostilities with Israel, but more based on the reality and dynamics of the Islamic and ultra-conservative identity of the majority of the Egyptian population (the Arab North African country has 110+ million people).

There are widespread reports that the slain Egyptian border guards were not given a proper military funeral...

Via Reuters

Egypt has long been ruled by what can be called a military deep state that is bought and paid for by Washington. In past decades, the number one and two recipients of annual US foreign aid was consistently Israel and Egypt.

Egypt was historically high on the foreign aid list (and still is) basically for the sole purpose of keeping a US-pliant regime in Cairo which--

1) would keep the peace with Israel based on the Camp David Accords-inspired 1979 treaty

2) prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from ever achieving power over the country

3) and ultimately stay loyal to US interests and pro-Washington regional alignment

But Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza and the Rafah offensive is of course testing all of this, and there have begun to be anti-regime rumblings on the Egyptian street.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday writes that "This week’s events have put a spotlight on two of the Sisi government’s worst fears: that the fighting could spill into Egypt, and that the Gaza war could stir up a popular revolt in the Middle East’s most populous country."

The report continues: "Already, a series of small pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Egypt have heightened fears among security officials that the public discontent could eventually turn against the government."

Egyptian authorities have already tried to clamp down on the potential for the funerals of the two deceased soldiers to become rallying points for bigger anti-Israel demonstrations. The soldiers have reportedly been denied the customary military burial with honors, and government officials were not even represented.

Commenting on the Tuesday morning funeral for 22-year-old Abdullah Ramadan, one regional outlet wrote, "Local news outlets reported that an Egyptian army major represented the military at the funeral, though no official military funeral was held for the deceased. Social media activists claimed that Ramadan’s family was denied the right to a military funeral." According to more confirmation from Arab media:

Despite protocol, Ramadan did not receive a military funeral. An Egyptian Armed Forces statement made on Monday afternoon, hours after the incident, referred to “the martyrdom of one of the guarding elements” in Rafah and said that it is conducting an investigation “through the bodies concerned,” without saying more about the incident or identifying Ramadan.

The anti-Israel rhetoric in Egypt's parliament (though which is still weakened and subservient to Sisi and the military) has been growing louder as well...

But there could be more firefights on the border yet to come, as WSJ reported further, "Since Israel began deploying troops along Gaza’s southern border in recent weeks, the Egyptian military has issued instructions to soldiers at the border to return fire if fired upon, Egyptian officials say. Egypt has warned Israel that it won’t hesitate to respond militarily if its security is threatened, they added."

So bigger escalation from Israel in Rafah and at the border could force a response from Egypt's military and government. The Egyptian populace would also certainly demand a strong response and to avoid national humiliation. All of this is also happening against the backdrop of an Egyptian economy in crisis.