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Chaos in the Sinai: Will International Peacekeepers Be the Next Casualty?

8:32 AM, May 24, 2013 • By DAVID SCHENKER
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Lately, the top leadership of the Brotherhood has been talking a lot about Israel.  On May 10, Secretary General of the organization’s Freedom and Justice political party Mohammed Biltagi led an anti-Israel demonstration at Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo replete with Israeli flag burnings, where he proclaimed that “Israel is our enemy.” In an interview with Al Monitor published on May 16, Rashad al-Bayoumi, the deputy supreme guide of the Brotherhood said “We in the Muslim Brotherhood reject the Camp David [peace] Accords, and have never changed our position on this.” The same day, his boss, Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie issued a statement, comparing Israel with the French colonial position in Algeria and the Italian one in Libya, predicting the Jewish state, like Europe’s colonies in the Middle East, would disappear.

Fortunately, at least for the time being, the military—the leading supporter in Egypt of the peace with Israel—retains authority over national security matters and continues to work closely with Israel in the Sinai. Eventually, however, the Muslim Brotherhood’s populist anti-Israel politics, like its calls to unilaterally revise the security annex of Camp David, may complicate the coordination. This dynamic makes the continued presence of the MFO, which in recent years has taken on a border monitoring role, all the more important.

David Schenker is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 

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