What did Egypt just buy?

The insta-analysis of tonight's ceasefire agreement in Gaza could not be more obvious: Egypt is back on the international stage. The man awarded responsibility, President Mohamed Morsi, has received heaps of praise and recognition for his "startling trajectory" from a Muslim Brother who wouldn't say Israel's name to the Jewish state's "brother" in stability, as Ha'aretz termed him.

Leaving aside whether Morsi's government - versus, let's say, Egypt's well-practiced military intelligence apparatus - was especially responsible for negotiating this ceasefire, there is now the looming question of what, exactly, Egypt owns. 

(There's a more looming question of how Morsi's administration weathers a host of mounting domestic crises, but I'll leave that for a bit.)

The ceasefire "agreement" (full text) cited by the media was, I think, correctly identified by Sherine Tadros as less a fully fleshed plan than a mechanism to pause hostilities in the hopes of something further. That mechanism, according to reports, is backed by guarantees from the Egyptian government. But those guarantees are entirely unclear. An appropriately skeptical Washington Post article quotes Hassan Abu Taleb of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies as saying the guarantees are "moral" not "physical" - there is no way for Egyptian forces to stop Gazan factions from firing rockets.

Last Saturday, Morsi delegated military mobilization authority to Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a move some saw as anticipating possible Israeli attacks that would have spilled into the Sinai in the event of a Gaza ground invasion. Some now feel that the new ceasefire agreement has gone so far as to erode the difference between Gaza and Sinai.

"The truce agreement makes Egypt for the first time responsible for the security of Israel's borders and guarantor to stop all forms of resistance of Hamas, and this makes the integration of Gaza in Sinai a matter of time," tweeted Ahmed Sarhan, who managed the presidential campaign of Morsi's former competitor, Ahmed Shafik. 

Sarhan elaborated, saying he could envision Gaza becoming "like an emirate" under the "security responsibility" of Egypt.

Perhaps Morsi has laid down a trump card - Egypt does, after all, control Hamas' weapons and goods-smuggling tunnels. But if things go badly, it looks like it's on his head.