Is Egypt’s Sinai going the Way of Syria? 30 Troops Killed by Militants

By Juan Cole

The Arabic newspaper Ilaf reports that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared a state of emergency for 3 months in parts of the province of North Sinai after two attacks by Muslim radical groups in that province left 30 Egyptian soldiers dead. Ilaf says that al-Sisi is blaming Egypt’s intelligence services for not forestalling these attacks.

sinai

Egypt’s government also closed the border checkpoint with Gaza at Rafah from Saturday on, until further notice. Egypt’s government blames Hamas in Palestinian Gaza for radicalizing the clans of the Sinai.

These steps came after a car bomb attack on an army checkpoint near El Arish in North Sinai that killed at least 30 troops, in which a large quantity of high-powered explosives completely destroyed the small garrison. The checkpoint lay between El Arish and Rafah on the border with Gaza.

A few hours later, in a separate attack, militants shot at another checkpoint south of El Arish, killing an officer and wounding a soldier.

The Egyptian military is using Apache helicopters to monitor North Sinai.

Muslim radicals in Sinai blame the military for overthrowing the Muslim fundamentalist president, Muhammad Morsi, on July 3, 2013. Though, to be fair, the militants were active against the Egyptian army during Morsi’s tenure as president, as well. The last big attack of this sort, in December 2013, left 14 police dead, in the wake of the coup against Morsi.

Posted in Egypt,Featured | 7 Responses | Print |

7 Responses

  1. Doesn’t the US have troops in Sinai monitoring the border?

    Regardless, one can only expect “boots on the ground” given the relationship between the US and Egyptian oligarchies.

    • “Doesn’t the US have troops in Sinai monitoring the border?”

      The U.S. has about 700 soldiers as part of a 13-nation contingent composing the Sinai Peacekeeping Force. They are not authorized to either gather intelligence or conduct offensive operations – so their usefulness remains limited.

  2. Ooh, ooh, we need to hurry up and deliver more weapons to everyone! Opportunity abounds, in the manufacture of violence and chaos and then the lovely Rebuilding. …

    • It is estimated that since 1991, the year the Persian Gulf War ended, there has been 10 trillion dollars in economic cost incurred due to armed conflict in the Middle East region.

      By comparison, this represents over one-half the amount of the U.S. national debt.

      Iraq, with its vast crude oil reserves and production capacity, should be a prosperous country, but the dual costs of virtually non-stop armed conflict and imposition of crippling economic sanctions have created poverty for a large percentage of Iraqis.

      • Thank you for the timely reminder, if anyone is at all concerned any more. Of course. that’s hardly new news to anyone paying any attention. Makes one wonder what the goal of the Game really is, if there is such a singular thing…

  3. The Egyptian army is keeping us safe I can tell you because I live in Egypt and we are much safer now that Sissi took control of the country. Before it was difficult to even travel safely to Cairo or any other parts of the country. These things take time because those militants have been growing in size during the time when Morsi was the president. During this time period many militant groups and extremist groups were let into our country. Egypt has a strong army and many allies in the region to help control this problem. I also believe that it is a good idea to make friends and agreements with the countries that border Egypt. The president seems to be doing a good job at building these relationships. In the future I know our country will continue to be safer and stronger. I hope that you will only hear positive things in the news about Egypt in the future.

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