The Sinai pipeline burning after a mid-July attack.(-/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, gunmen stormed the Egyptian natural gas pipeline in the Sinai and tried to sabotage it with grenade-launchers, only to fail due to the fact that the pipeline was shut down, which in turn was due to the two previous attacks just in the previous month (there were a few more in the preceding months after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak).

Even if you buy the (valid) theories that the current energy export deal has Egypt selling gas to Israel at below-market prices, it is very much in Egypt’s national interest to keep this economic relationship with Israel as well as Jordan. Israel can learn to survive without Egypt energy-wise; indeed, its new offshore natural gas findings could well turn it into a net energy exporter; Israelis are already making noise about “giving up” on Egyptian gas. And Jordan, which also relies on Egyptian gas (and whose delegated pipelines would apparently not have been affected by the weekend’s attack) have, in light of the Egyptian pipeline instability, apparently been talking about striking energy deals with another energy-exporter in the neighborhood: Iran. And if you’d think the Egyptian national interest calls for worse relations with Israel and Jordan and better ones with Iran, you should reread some of those WikiLeaks memos.

Gunmen Attack Sinai Gas Pipeline [NYT]
Israelis Will ‘Give Up’ on Egyptian Gas, Expert Says [JPost]
Earlier: Yet Another Egypt Pipeline Explosion
Sabotage Foreshadows Israel’s Energy Future