Unlikely alliance: Israel conducted over 100 airstrikes in Egypt – with permission

February 5, 2018

The New York Times recently disclosed that for the last two years, Israel has been carrying out massive airstrikes within the Egyptian border. And it’s been doing so with Cairo’s consent.

The Israeli military has deployed unmarked drones, fighter jets and helicopter gunships to carry out more than 100 airstrikes within Egypt’s Sinai desert region.

Former enemies now allies

Sworn enemies for decades, Israel initiated the airstrikes to take out a foe common to both the Jewish state and Egypt.

Its target? Islamic State militants.

The Times reported:

The jihadists in Egypt’s Northern Sinai had killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, briefly seized a major town and begun setting up armed checkpoints to claim territory. In late 2015, they brought down a Russian passenger jet.

Egypt appeared unable to stop them, so Israel, alarmed at the threat just over the border, took action.

Old sentiments die hard

From the 1947-1949 War of Independence to the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and beyond, Israel and Egypt had been at near-continuous war with one another.

Distrust between Israelis and Egyptians runs deep. For that reason secrecy was paramount.

According to the Times:

Both neighbors have sought to conceal Israel’s role in the airstrikes for fear of a backlash inside Egypt, where government officials and the state-controlled media continue to discuss Israel as a nemesis and pledge fidelity to the Palestinian cause.

The Israeli drones are unmarked, and the Israeli jets and helicopters cover up their markings. Some fly circuitous routes to create the impression that they are based in the Egyptian mainland, according to American officials briefed on their operations. In Israel, military censors restrict public reports of the airstrikes.

No official confirmation

The New York Times based its report upon interviews with seven current and former British and U.S. officials involved in Middle East policy. They only agreed to speak to the paper on condition of anonymity.

Neither Jerusalem nor Cairo would comment on the report when requested. The Times of Israel, however, quoted the New York Times report:

The report quoted American officials as saying that Israel’s air campaign has played a decisive role in enabling the Egyptian armed forces to gain an upper hand against the jihadists. The Israel-Egypt collaboration “is the most dramatic evidence yet of a quiet reconfiguration of the politics of the region,” the New York Times said.

When push came to shove, the two countries shared the same concerns: the Islamic State, Iran and Islamic extremism.

Those concerns “have quietly brought the leaders of several Arab states into growing alignment with Israel — even as their officials and news media continue to vilify the Jewish state in public,” The New York Times reported.

Ironically, a brutal terrorist organization may be the key to bring that which has been lacking — peace in the Middle East.

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Michael Dorstewitz

Michael Dorstewitz is a writer for the Conservative Institute. He is an attorney and a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer. His writing can also be seen at BizPac Review and NewsMax.