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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid