Egypt delays implementing Tiran and Sanafir deal with KSA: Axios
Egypt in recent weeks began raising mostly technical reservations, including the installation of cameras on the islands.
Egypt is delaying the implementation of an agreement regarding the 2 strategic islands in the Red Sea - Sanafir and Tiran - which were essential in paving the way for "Israel" to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.
A predeterminant for the coming normalization process is the transfer of authority of the two islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. Although the island has been demilitarized as per the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli normalization agreement, it holds significant strategic importance, as it engulfs the passage into the Red Sea, up to "Eilat," "Israel's" economic and trade hub, in addition to the port of Aqaba in Jordan. As part of the agreement, the US-led multinational force of observers that have been present on Tiran for years are required to leave the islands by the end of December.
According to 4 Israeli officials and one US source to Axios, Egypt in recent weeks began raising mostly technical reservations, including the installation of cameras on the islands, used to monitor activity on the island and in the Tiran Strait, which was part of the agreement.
Last week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, bringing up the Red Sea islands deal, conveying that Biden wants it done.
According to Israeli officials, the agreement won't be implemented by the end of December due to Egypt's reservations, contending that Egypt is delaying the deal due to bilateral issues between Cairo and Washington.
Typically, giving human rights as a pretext, Biden twice froze 10% of the approximately $1.3 billion in military aid it sends to Cairo on a yearly basis. Earlier this year, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy blocked $75 million worth of assistance to Egypt.
Barbara Leaf, the US State Department's top Middle East diplomat, upon visiting Cairo in October, was told by Egyptian officials told her they expect the US administration to transfer military assistance in full if it really perceives Egyptian-US relations as strategic, according to sources knowledgeable of the issue.
Leaf stressed her Egyptian counterparts to lobby Congress for military aid - however, Egyptian officials made it clear that they don't intend to lobby every year, stressing that when an issue is important to the administration, it 'knows how to get it done in Congress.'
Red Sea dreams
For a long time, "Israel" has been working on assuming its authority over the Red Sea. It used the war on Yemen to assume authority over the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb by reportedly constructing military bases and planting authority in Eritrea and Socotra. The occupation has also been looking to construct the "Ben Gurion" Canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, right through "Eilat".
With the US-brokered agreement between Saudi Arabia and "Israel" over the strategic islands, not only will the authority island witness a transfer, but the demilitarized status of the islands might also get changed, in addition to changes in US foreign policy.
The agreement would constitute the most significant US foreign policy achievement in the region since the 2020 normalization agreements, which normalized Israeli diplomacy with certain Arab states, including Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
At the time of the signing, Saudi Arabia said they supported the agreements but would not normalize relations unless there is tangible progress in the "peace process" between the Israeli occupation and Palestine.
Read next: Netanyahu talks with Saudi media about normalization with Riyadh
The agreement, according to White House Middle East coordinator, Brett McGurk, has been delayed due to the issue of a multinational force of observers: Riyadh seeks to keep the island demilitarized while committing to full freedom of navigation, but also demands the expulsion of multinational observers, according to the sources.
Israeli officials, on their side, agreed to end the presence of the observers - but, in turn, demanded alternative security arrangements. In addition, "Israel" also demands that Saudi Arabia allow more Israeli flights to glide over its airspace, significantly abbreviating distances to China, Thailand, and India, according to the sources.
All in all, normalization agreements are to the benefit and security of the Israeli occupation. All normalization agreements in the Arab world entail tentacles of surveillance and hyper-militarization, constituting breaches of the sovereignty of Arab peoples. The ceding of the islands, under the patronage of "Israel," will be another lamb to the sacrifice of regional independence.
Read more: Normalization: A stab in the back to the Palestinian cause