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مع قرب المرحلة الأخيرة من صفقة القرن السيسي يفوض إسرائيل بشن غارات على سيناء Secret Alliance: Israel Carries Out Airstrikes in Egypt, With Cairo’s O.K.

كشفت صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” الأمريكية النقاب عن شن الطائرات الإسرائيلية غارات جوية على سيناء لضرب مواقع الإرهابيين بعلم القاهرة، وموافقة عبدالفتاح السيسي.
وقالت الصحيفة، إن الإرهابيين في شمال سيناء قتلوا مئات الجنود وضباط الشرطة،  وبدأوا في إقامة نقاط تفتيش، وفي أواخر 2015، أعلنوا مسئوليتهم عن إسقاط طائرة ركاب روسية.
وأضافت، ورغم جهود الدولة المصرية للقضاء على الإرهابيين، إلا أنها فشلت بشكل كبير، الأمر الذي دفع إسرائيل ،التي تشعر بالخوف إزاء التهديد بجوار حدودها، للتحرك.
وتابعت، على مدى أكثر من عامين قامت طائرات بدون طيار إسرائيلية، وطائرات هليكوبتر، ومقاتلات بغارات جوية سرية، بلغت أكثر من 100 غارة داخل مصر، وفي كثير من الأحيان أكثر من مرة في الأسبوع، وبموافقة عبد الفتاح السيسي.
وأوضحت الصحيفة، أن التعاون الملحوظ بين إسرائيل ومصر  يمر مرحلة جديدة في تطور علاقتهما، وبعد عداء في ثلاث حروب، ثم خصوم في سلام غير مستقر، أصبحت مصر وإسرائيل الآن حلفاء سريين في حرب سرية ضد عدو مشترك.  
وبالنسبة للقاهرة، ساعد التدخل الإسرائيلي، الجيش المصري على استعادة تواجده في معركته التي دامت خمس سنوات تقريبا ضد المسلحين، وبالنسبة لإسرائيل، عززت الغارات أمن حدودها واستقرار جارتها.
وشددت الصحيفة على أن تعاونهم في شمال سيناء، هو الدليل الأكثر دراماتيكية على أن سياسة المنطقة تعاد تشكيلها بهدوء، فقد جلب أعداء مشتركون مثل داعش وإيران بهدوء قادة العديد من الدول العربية إلى مواءمة متزايدة مع إسرائيل، حتى مع استمرار مسؤوليهم ووسائل الإعلام في معاداة الدولة اليهودية علنا.
ويقول مسؤولون أمريكيون إن الغارات الجوية الإسرائيلية لعبت دورا حاسما في تمكين القوات المصرية من الحصول على اليد العليا ضد المسلحين، لكن الدور الإسرائيلي يتسبب بعواقب غير متوقعة بالنسبة للمنطقة، بما في ذلك مفاوضات السلام في الشرق الأوسط.
 وأكد سبعة مسؤولين بريطانيين وأمريكيين سابقين الهجمات الإسرائيلية داخل مصر، وكلهم يتحدثون بشرط عدم الكشف عن هويته لأنها معلومات سرية.
 ورفض المتحدث باسم الجيش الإسرائيلي والمصري التعليق، بحسب الصحيفة. 
وبحسب الصحيفة، سعى الجيران لإخفاء دور إسرائيل في الغارات خوفا من رد فعل عنيف داخل مصر حيث يواصل المسؤولون الحكوميون ووسائل الاعلام التي تسيطر عليها الدولة، التحدث عن إسرائيل أنها العدو، وتعهد بدعم القضية الفلسطينية.
 وعن كيفية إخفاء الدور الإسرائيلي في سيناء، قالت الصحيفة، إن الطائرات الإسرائيلية تغطي أعلامها، وتحدث بعض المسؤولين الأميركيين أن العمليات الإسرائيلية تعطي انطباعا بأنهم موجودون داخل مصر.
 وفي إسرائيل، تقيد الرقابة العسكرية الحديث عن الغارات الجوية، ومن غير الواضح ما إذا كانت القوات الإسرائيلية أو القوات الخاصة توجد داخل الحدود المصرية، أم لا.
 ويقول مسؤولون أمريكيون إن السيسي يسعى لإخفاء الضربات عن جميع الدوائر، ولكن هناك دائرة محدودة من الضباط العسكريين والاستخباراتيين يعلمون بها، وأعلنت الحكومة المصرية شمال سيناء منطقة عسكرية مغلقة، ومنع الصحفيين من جمع المعلومات.
ورغم الرقابة العسكرية الإسرائيلية التي تمنع نشر الاخبار عن هذه الضربات، إلا أن شبكة “بلومبرج” الإخبارية الأمريكية نقلت عام 2016، عن مسؤول إسرائيلي سابق لم يذكر اسمه، قوله:” إن هناك غارات إسرائيلية داخل مصر”.
وبحسب الصحيفة، داخل الحكومة الأمريكية، أمر الغارات الإسرائيلية في سيناء معروف على نطاق واسع، حتى أن الدبلوماسيين ومسؤولي الاستخبارات ناقشوها في جلسات مغلقة مع أعضاء في الكونجرس، الذين أيدوا التعاون المصري الإسرائيلي الوثيق في سيناء.
وفى مقابلة هاتفية مع الصحيفة، رفض السناتور “بنيامين كاردين”، عضو لجنة العلاقات الخارجية بمجلس الشيوخ، مناقشة تفاصيل العمليات العسكرية الاسرائيلية في مصر، إلا أنه قال :إن” إسرائيل تحب الخير لجيرانها”.
وأضاف، إن” اسرائيل لا تريد الاشياء السيئة التي تحدث في سيناء المصرية الوصول لإسرائيل.. الجهود المصرية لإخفاء دور إسرائيل من مواطنيها ليست ظاهرة جديدة”.
ونظرا لاعتماد مصر على الجيش الإسرائيلي، فإن البعض في إسرائيل يطالب المسؤولين المصريين والدبلوماسيين ووسائل الإعلام التي تسيطر عليها الدولة يجب أن تتوقف ​​عن إدانة الدولة اليهودية، وخاصة في المحافل الدولية مثل الأمم المتحدة.

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.
For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
For Cairo, the Israeli intervention has helped the Egyptian military regain its footing in its nearly five-year battle against the militants. For Israel, the strikes have bolstered the security of its borders and the stability of its neighbor.
Their collaboration in the North Sinai is the most dramatic evidence yet of a quiet reconfiguration of the politics of the region. Shared enemies like ISIS, Iran and political Islam 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.
Secret Alliance: Israel Carries Out Airstrikes in Egypt, With Cairo’s O.K.
A turning point: In 2015, Islamist militants brought down a Russian passenger jet in Sinai. Soon after, Israel began a wave of airstrikes there. Credit Maxim Grigoryev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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.
For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The remarkable cooperation marks a new stage in the evolution of their singularly fraught relationship. Once enemies in three wars, then antagonists in an uneasy peace, Egypt and Israel are now secret allies in a covert war against a common foe.
An election campaign billboard for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. American officials say he has kept the Israeli airstrikes hidden from all but a limited circle of military and intelligence officers. Credit Mohamed El-Shahed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
For Cairo, the Israeli intervention has helped the Egyptian military regain its footing in its nearly five-year battle against the militants. For Israel, the strikes have bolstered the security of its borders and the stability of its neighbor.
Their collaboration in the North Sinai is the most dramatic evidence yet of a quiet reconfiguration of the politics of the region. Shared enemies like ISIS, Iran and political Islam 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.
American officials say Israel’s air campaign has played a decisive role in enabling the Egyptian armed forces to gain an upper hand against the militants. But the Israeli role is having some unexpected consequences for the region, including on Middle East peace negotiations, in part by convincing senior Israeli officials that Egypt is now dependent on them even to control its own territory.
Seven current or former British and American officials involved in Middle East policy described the Israeli attacks inside Egypt, all speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified information.
Spokesmen for the Israeli and Egyptian militaries declined to comment, and so did a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry.
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. It is unclear if any Israeli troops or special forces have set foot inside Egyptian borders, which would increase the risk of exposure.
Mr. Sisi has taken even more care, American officials say, to hide the origin of the strikes from all but a limited circle of military and intelligence officers. The Egyptian government has declared the North Sinai a closed military zone, barring journalists from gathering information there.
Behind the scenes, Egypt’s top generals have grown steadily closer to their Israeli counterparts since the signing of the Camp David accords 40 years ago, in 1978. Egyptian security forces have helped Israel enforce restrictions on the flow of goods in and out of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian territory bordering Egypt controlled by the militant group Hamas. And Egyptian and Israeli intelligence agencies have long shared information about militants on both sides of the border.
Israeli officials were concerned in 2012 when Egypt, after its Arab Spring revolt, elected a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood to the presidency. The new president, Mohamed Morsi, pledged to respect the Camp David agreements. But the Israelis worried about the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideological kinship with Hamas and its historic hostility to the Jewish state itself.
A year later, Mr. Sisi, then the defense minister, ousted Mr. Morsi in a military takeover. Israel welcomed the change in government, and urged Washington to accept it. That solidified the partnership between the generals on both sides of the border.
The North Sinai, a loosely governed region of mountainous desert between the Suez Canal and the Israeli border, became a refuge for Islamist militants in the decade before Mr. Sisi took power. The main jihadist organization, Ansar Beit al Maqdis — the Partisans of Jerusalem — had concentrated on attacking Israel, but after Mr. Sisi’s takeover it began leading a wave of deadly assaults against Egyptian security forces.
A few weeks after Mr. Sisi took power, in August 2013, two mysterious explosions killed five suspected militants in a district of the North Sinai not far from the Israeli border. The Associated Press reported that unnamed Egyptian officials had said Israeli drones fired missiles that killed the militants, possibly because of Egyptian warnings of a planned cross-border attack on an Israeli airport. (Israel had closed the airport the previous day.)
Mr. Sisi’s spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, denied it. “There is no truth in form or in substance to the existence of any Israeli attacks inside Egyptian territory,” he said in a statement at the time, promising an investigation. “The claims of coordination between the Egyptian and Israeli sides in this matter are totally lacking in truth and go against sense and logic.”
Israel declined to comment, and the episode was all but forgotten.
Two years later, however, Mr. Sisi was still struggling to defeat the militants, who by then had killed at least several hundred Egyptians soldiers and policemen.
In November, 2014, Ansar Beit al Maqdis formally declared itself the Sinai Province branch of the Islamic State. On July 1, 2015, the militants briefly captured control of a North Sinai town, Sheikh Zuwaid, and retreated only after Egyptian jets and helicopters struck the town, state news agencies said. Then, at the end of October, the militants brought down the Russian charter jet, killing all 224 people on board.
It was around the time of those ominous milestones, in late 2015, that Israel began its wave of airstrikes, the American officials said, which they credit with killing a long roster of militant leaders.
Though equally brutal successors often stepped in to replace them, the militants appeared to adopt less ambitious goals. They no longer dared trying to close roads, set up checkpoints or claim territory. They moved into hitting softer targets like Christians in Sinai, churches in the Nile Valley or other Muslims they view as heretics. In November 2017, the militants killed 311 worshipers at a Sufi mosque in the North Sinai.
By then, American officials say, the Israelis were complaining to Washington that the Egyptians were not holding up their end of the arrangement. Cairo, they said, had failed to follow the airstrikes with coordinated movements of its ground troops.
Although Israeli military censors have prevented the news media there from reporting on the strikes, some news outlets have circumvented the censorship by citing a 2016 Bloomberg News report, in which an unnamed former Israeli official said there had been Israeli drone strikes inside of Egypt.
Zack Gold, a researcher specializing in the North Sinai who has worked in Israel, compared the airstrikes to Israel’s nuclear weapons program — also an open secret.
“The Israeli strikes inside of Egypt are almost at the same level, he said. “Every time anyone says anything about the nuclear program, they have to jokingly add ‘according to the foreign press.’ Israel’s main strategic interest in Egypt is stability, and they believe that open disclosure would threaten that stability.”
Inside the American government, the strikes are widely known enough that diplomats and intelligence officials have discussed them in closed briefings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers in open committee hearings have alluded approvingly to the surprisingly close Egyptian and Israeli cooperation in the North Sinai.
In a telephone interview, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declined to discuss specifics of Israel’s military actions in Egypt, but said Israel was not acting “out of goodness to a neighbor.”
 “Israel does not want the bad stuff that is happening in the Egyptian Sinai to get into Israel,” he said, adding that the Egyptian effort to hide Israel’s role from its citizens “is not a new phenomenon.”
Some American supporters of Israel complain that, given Egypt’s reliance on the Israeli military, Egyptian officials, diplomats and state-controlled news media should stop publicly denouncing the Jewish state, especially in international forums like the United Nations.
“You speak with Sisi and he talks about security cooperation with Israel, and you speak with Israelis and they talk about security cooperation with Egypt, but then this duplicitous game continues,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee. “It is confusing to me.”
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has also pointedly reminded American diplomats of the Israeli military role in Sinai. In February 2016, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry convened a secret summit in Aqaba, Jordan, with Mr. Sisi, King Abdullah of Jordan and Mr. Netanyahu, according to three American officials involved in the talks or briefed about them.
Mr. Kerry proposed a regional agreement in which Egypt and Jordan would guarantee Israel’s security as part of a deal for a Palestinian state.
Mr. Netanyahu scoffed at the idea.
Israeli’s military was already propping up Egypt’s military, he said, according to the Americans. If Egypt was unable to control the ground within its own borders, Mr. Netanyahu argued, it was hardly in a position to guarantee security for Israel.
Middle East

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أول صحفى فى النمسا منذ سنة 1970 عمل فى الصحافة وعمره 18 سنة فى جريدة الجمهورية والمساء وحريتى ثم الجرائد الألمانية دير إشبيجل وفى النمسا جريدة الإخو تسليتومج لمدة عشرون عاما وفى سنة 1991 اصدر اول صحيفة باللغة العربية والألمانية وهى جريدة الوطن لمدة 11 سنة ، عمل مراسل جريدة الجمهورية والمساء فى النمسا لمدة 31 سنة.

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