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Israel’s Stance Following the Sharm Summit

A little over a year ago, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi devised a new political framework for regional politics, known as the Baghdad framework. It included Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq — and was founded with the goal of helping Iraq get out of the sphere of Iranian influence. Since its inception, ties and coordination between the three countries have grown stronger and stronger. In recent days, another framework has been established in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, but this one includes Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel. These three countries, whose heads met for a mini-summit last week, have several common denominators. The salient denominator is the deep disappointment with the Biden Administration’s conduct toward the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear issue. Members of this new framework share the view that Washington will do everything in its power to reach an agreement with Iran, even if the price is high. In their view, the United States is making tactical mistakes that will lead to long-term, strategic risks. The leaders of the three countries met on Egyptian soil to create a mechanism for coordination and to coordinate strategies in the wake of a new reality in the Middle East. The American willingness to consider Tehran’s request to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of terrorist organizations raised red flags in every Arab capital and hastened the meeting in Sharm, which seemed to have been secretly prepared and quickly held. Another common denominator for the three countries is the fear of Iran’s aggressive hegemony in the region, which endangers the entire Middle East. Aside from the Iranian nuclear issue, the three countries see that the real danger is the Iranian subversion that the United States ignores or doesn’t want to deal with. Egypt and the UAE see Iran-backed Houthi militias launching missiles at Saudi Arabia. The Iranians are firing at Americans in Iraq, and the United States is choosing not to respond. In their view, there is only a small and daring country that successfully copes with Iran’s aggression: Israel. This explains the presence of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the summit. A ring is slowly forming around Iran, in which Israel is a central link. It seems that the three countries that met in Sharm understand that there will be a new reality after the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Washington’s conduct vis-à-vis Ukraine, and before that, Afghanistan, only reinforces these countries’ concerns and the need to organize and mobilize together. President el-Sisi can link the framework of Sharm and the framework of Baghdad. The question is, how far will the members of Sharm’s new framework be willing to go: a common strategy? Ongoing coordination? Intelligence assistance? Military deployment? Apart from being historic, the recent trilateral summit in Sharm links the fate of the three participating countries. Egypt has jumped to the forefront of cooperation with Israel and confrontation with Iran. The UAE has similarly chosen its camp openly and without hesitation. Israel, in turn, has become a major regional power that everyone is leaning on, overnight. –Yitzhak Levanon (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)