Informed sources said that Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has shown unprecedented flexibility towards the Saudi, American and Jordanian suggestions to send troops from the Egyptian army to the direct engagement lines with the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.
The informed sources said that the Egyptian Armed Forces is studying for the first time sending combat forces to fight terrorism on the Desert Triangle, which links the Jordanian borders with Iraq and Syria.
It is worth mentioning that Egypt has previously rejected this option. However, Cairo has been recently exposed to pressure regarding this issue, according to the same sources who informed Rai al Youm newspaper.
The sources also noted that these forces will be financed and backed by Saudi Arabia and will work under the umbrella of the Islamic Strategic Alliance against terrorism in Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic Strategic Alliance has been announced recently in Riyadh by King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz.
There is no accurate information about its nature or the number of American troops that will participate in the alliance, but it seems that the US will send nearly 2000 soldiers who are already present now in the region.
Egypt’s flexibility has been noticed during al-Sisi’s latest visit to Saudi Arabia and his participation in the Islamic American Summit that has called for the cooperation of the countries’ region in counter-terrorism.
With the escalating fight against ISIS in the Syrian and Iraqi depth, the ISIS elements are expected to escape towards the Desert triangle in an attempt to catch their breaths and possibly rearrange their papers again.
About two weeks ago, Arab media reported that Jordan could send troops to Syria to establish a security zone between its borders and Syria, keeping the Islamic State away from the Jordanian borders.
According to the media reports, Jordan faces a great challenge as ISIS has strengthened its presence on the northern border as well as its effective arm in the Yarmuk Basin.
Western diplomats and sources from regional intelligence agencies say that Jordan plays a prominent role in the US-led campaign against the “Islamic State” as it provides military, logistical and intelligence support.
Oman is keen to prevent any risk of the return of elements that fought with the ISIS group.
As a result, it has taken urgent action at an early stage by arresting hundreds of people before going to Syria.
There is no doubt that Egypt’s participation in the war against ISIS militants on the Jordanian borders would be a shift in al-Sisi’s claimed policy of rejecting travel of any ground troops outside Egypt.
It is worth mentioning that Egypt has always denied any participation in ground troops in the Saudi-led coalition, confirming that its participation is limited to the naval and air forces only.
During the seven-hour meeting with the editors-in-chief of state-owned newspapers in 2016, al-Sisi said, “We have Air Force elements in Saudi Arabia, but we do not have any ground forces in any Arab country. All of our forces abroad work within the framework of the United Nations peacekeeping forces.”
Egypt’s air force has been participating in the Saudi-led military coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen since the coalition was launched in March 2015, according to Al-Ahram (state-owned newspaper).
However, there were signs that al-Sisi has changed his mind recently when Brig.General. Ahmed Asiri, Saudi Defense Minister’s adviser and spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, has said in a televised interview on al-Arabiya Saudi TV Channel, in April 2017, that Egypt had previously offered to send 40,000 soldiers to Yemen for protecting the Saudi-Yemeni border.
Asiri said, “Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered the Saudi government and the coalition to send ground troops to Yemen but the coalition policy in Yemen does not allow the presence of any foreign ground troops on the Yemeni territory.”
He also commented on the number of the Egyptian forces participating in the Arab coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen saying, “the Egyptian army currently cooperates in the naval and air efforts, but what we were talking about happened earlier (at the beginning of operations) was the participation of almost 30,000 to 40,000 Egyptian soldiers as ground troops.”
It should be noted that Asiri was not speaking at a news conference, but in an interview with Al Arabiya, and he also did not talk about the presence of Egyptian ground forces on Yemen, but about the Al- Sisi’s offer to send ground troops there.
Asiri stressed that Egypt participates only by naval and air efforts.
The Saudi-Egyptian relations are currently witnessing a state of warmth following a period of stalemate and tension, one of its main reasons was the nature of the Egyptian participation in the Arab-led coalition led by the Saudi Kingdom in Yemen.