News / Middle East

Sinai Pipeline Attacks Spotlight Post-Mubarak Border Security

A fire barricade set by fugitives at the entrance of el-Sheikh Zoyed, North Sinai, Aug. 22, 2011.
A fire barricade set by fugitives at the entrance of el-Sheikh Zoyed, North Sinai, Aug. 22, 2011.
Robert Berger

Gunmen Tuesday blew up a pipeline that supplies gas to Israel and Jordan. Egyptian officials say the attackers arrived at the Sinai Peninsula facility in two pickup trucks before dawn. A loud explosion then rocked the pumping station, sending an orange plume of fire into the sky.

It was the sixth attack on the pipeline since the Egyptians forced former President Hosni Mubarak from office in February, leaving military officials temporarily in charge. Egyptian authorities blamed the latest attack and others on Islamic militants opposed to the 32-year-old peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The attacks have raised concern in Israel about a possible security vacuum in Sinai, which borders both Israel and the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip.

Israeli army officials say that since Mubarak's ouster there has been a massive increase in weapons smuggling to Gaza, which is controlled by Islamic militant group Hamas. They also say militants from Gaza have been crossing into Sinai to carry out attacks.

"This is a very major challenge for the new Egypt because it could deteriorate to a situation like what we have in Pakistan, where there are areas of the country that are not under control," says Israeli analyst Dan Schueftan. "It is a challenge to the Egyptian sovereignty."

Egyptian political analyst Hisham Kassem says Israeli Army officials are exaggerating security threats in Sinai that, he says, begin with unemployment and poverty.

"Israel is always alarmist about anything that has to do with security," he says. "Not that there isn’t a concern, but I think they’re magnifying the security concerns [and] I think the first thing to secure Sinai is to create jobs there."

A turning point in the Sinai situation occurred in August, when Palestinian gunmen from Gaza crossed into Sinai and then infiltrated southern Israel, killing eight Israelis on a road along the Egyptian border.

Schueftan says Egypt's change in leadership has altered Israel's strategic equation for the worse after decades of calm along the Sinai border.

"The Sinai Peninsula is extremely precarious because this it is a border that needs to be considered as a hostile border, even if Egypt as a country is not a hostile state to Israel," he says.

To combat the problem, Israel and Egypt have agreed on an increased Egyptian troop presence in Sinai for the first time since the peace treaty was signed in 1979. And Israel is taking steps on its own, constructing a 265-kilometer border fence at a cost of about $300 million.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid