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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid