The Egyptian Gambit

In chess, a gambit is a risky strategy in which a player offers a short-term advantage to his opponent in exchange for some other longer-term gain.

The demonstrations which took place outside the Israeli embassy last night in Cairo go to the heart of the ‘Egyptian gambit’ which has been played out on the Middle Eastern chess board for decades: political elites allow a frustrated Egyptian population to vent their anger against a recognizable ‘enemy’, and bear ensuing political heat because it allows them to exert leverage abroad and protects their legitimacy at home.

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