Cairo has always been a popular site to mediate the many disputes of the Middle East. A regional crossroads and the home of the Arab League, Egypt has hosted numerous rounds of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as well as intra-Palestinian talks between rival factions Fatah and Hamas. In 2003, it served as the nerve center for last-minute attempts by the Arab League and Gulf states to convince Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to seek exile ahead of the eventual U.S.-led invasion.
But the past month of political turmoil following the military's ousting of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency has flipped that script. Now international envoys are packing into Cairo from multiple directions in order to mediate the Egyptian crisis. The past few days have seen overlapping visits from U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, U.S. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, E.U. envoy Bernardino León and the Foreign Ministers of both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.