News / Middle East

Despite Crackdown, Sinai Security Remains Elusive

Despite Crackdown, Sinai Security Remains Elusivei
X
September 20, 2013 5:39 PM
Egypt's military is in the midst of a massive crackdown on Islamist militants in Sinai. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott in Cairo reports that results so far are mixed.

Despite Crackdown, Sinai Security Remains Elusive

Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt's military is in the midst of a massive crackdown on Islamist militants in Sinai, but results so far are mixed.

Egyptian authorities are hailing as a success their biggest military operation in Sinai in decades. 

For supporters of the military-backed government, the projected months-long crackdown is a direct counter-offensive to the polices of ousted President Mohamad Morsi. 

"[It's] very much unstable thanks to Mr. Morsi, the previous president, who released thousands of Islamic fanatics from Egyptian jail by presidential declaration.  All of them went to Sinai,  and thanks to him again because he allowed al-Qaida to come to Sinai," said former intelligence officer and security analyst Sameh Seif al-Yazal.

Sinai Peninsula, IsraelSinai Peninsula, Israel
x
Sinai Peninsula, Israel
Sinai Peninsula, Israel
​The situation in the strategic region, extending from the Suez Canal to the borders of Israel and Gaza, has been dire for years: underdeveloped, open to criminal gangs and, more recently, weapons from Libya.

And for all the blaming of the last president, Sinai security was also the responsibility of Morsi's defense minister, General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, the de facto national leader.

With the nation's “war on terror” the narrative has changed, and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and Sinai's jihadi militants have become one. 

“The army, in its attempt to assert itself as the protector of the nation, as caring, you know, about the core interests that Morsi had abandoned, needs to do a better job in the Sinai,” said Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

State television replays countless images of the army closing illegal tunnels to Gaza, clearing areas near the border and attacking Jihadist positions.  It's hard to confirm how well the operation is going.  One of the few journalists there, Ahmed Abu Deraa, contradicted government claims of success.  He is now on trial for reporting false news.

But one factor is clearing going the army's way, relations with Israel, whose leaders were wary of Morsi. 

"The Egyptian military is actually happy that Israel supported its coup, or, you know, did not vocally oppose what happened on July 3rd," said analyst Hokayem.

As for Suez, Egypt also has international backing in keeping it secure.  Despite recent reports of a failed attack on the key shipping lane, retired general al-Yazal believes it is firmly under control.   

“Suez Canal is under severe protection as well as severe measures.  The army, they know quite well they cannot joke with Suez Canal,” he said.

But the security crackdown may create some problems of its own, namely further recruitment of militants from across the region.

"Just like the repression against the Muslim Brotherhood is not going to help create a more inclusive and stable Egypt, going hard into the Sinai may well exacerbate  problems in the medium term," said analyst Hokayem.

Analysts say any long-term security must be based on political dialogue and economic investment - both commodities in short supply in tense and troubled Egypt.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid