By Jennifer Rizzo
The new second in command of the Egyptian military called for a withdrawal of American forces from the Middle East in a research paper he wrote while attending the U.S. Army War College in 2005.
The paper offers a glimpse into the thinking of Lt. Gen. Sedky Sobhy, who is the newly appointed chief of staff of the armed forces as part of shakeup of the military's top echelon.
"I recommend that the permanent withdrawal of the United States military forces from the Middle East and the (Persian) Gulf should be a goal of the U.S. strategy in this region," he wrote in the paper reviewed by CNN.
Sobhy criticized the United States for playing favorites by taking Israel's side on issues. He wrote that the U.S. alliance with Israel did not sit well in the region.
"Nothing defines better the ideological struggle that the United States has to overcome in the Middle East than the hostility and negative perceptions that exist in the region because of the U.S. unique and one-sided strategic relationship with Israel," Sobhy wrote.
Sobhy said that security challenges for the United States in the region would be alleviated if it were to "truly work" for a permanent solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
While the comments seem bold, Middle East analysts told CNN's Security Clearance that these views are rather common in the region.
The belief in the centrality of an Arab-Israeli settlement to regional stability are not unique. It's standard operating procedure," said Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Atlantic Council analyst Michele Dunne said there were no surprises.
"The views that he expressed could not be more mainstream," said Dunne, who previously worked as a diplomat in Cairo and was a member of the National Security Council staff.
"They are absolutely within the mainstream of Egyptian military and even Egyptian government views. They are the very same views that one would hear if you sat down with any Egyptian government official in Cairo," Dunne said.
Dunne said the only thing unusual is that the paper is available. It is rare for Egyptian military officers to express their opinions in public, she said.
Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, said the fact that Sobhy's views are so thoughtfully and publicly laid out is a telling sign of the new commander's personality.
"He is outspoken. He is not afraid to express his political views. He feels confident. In a way it represents a generational shift," Gerges said.
Gerges says the new military leaders will exert confidence from knowing they are appointed by legitimate leadership.
President Mohamed Morsy, the country's first freely elected president, ousted the country's top generals on Sunday.
Analysts say the appointments signal a shift in the balance of power between the country's civilian and military leaders.
A blogger known as @Arabist originally uncovered the report, drawing attention to it in a Twitter posting. McClatchy News Service first reported on the story.