The presence of the so-called "Islamic State" the same militant force serving as proxies in Washington's war on Syria in Egypt's Sinai region serves as a constant source of pressure attempting to coerce Cairo to pivot Westward.
Recent protests are also aimed at adding to this pressure.
As to why Egypt is facing such pressure now we need only look at Washington's recent escalation with Iran. Egypt under Morsi sought to weaken Syria as part of Washington's wider conflict with Iran. Efforts to coerce Egypt into joining the US-led war in Yemen was also aimed at eliminating Iranian allies and further isolating Iran itself.
Key to any US foreign policy victory over Iran will be the creation of a regional, united front against Tehran with nations willingly or not enlisted to play a role however small in isolating and undermining Iranian stability internally, regionally, and globally.
Should protests pick up sufficient momentum in Egypt the prospect of Washington introducing demands in exchange for momentary relief from street violence will undoubtedly follow.
In the days and weeks ahead Egypt's ability or inability to contain the protests and resist US efforts to drag Cairo into another round of regional violence and instability will in turn help indicate the wider prospects of peace or war in the region as Washington struggles to reassert itself at any cost.