View Full Version : Egypt 2007-2016 (merged thread)

01-31-2007, 01:55 PM
ICG, 30 Jan 07: Egypt’s Sinai Question (http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/middle_east___north_africa/egypt_north_africa/61_egypts_sinai_question.pdf)

Terrorism returned to Egypt in 2004 after an absence of seven years with successive attacks and the emergence of a heretofore unknown movement in Sinai. The government’s reaction essentially has been confined to the security sphere: tracking down and eliminating the terrorists. Egyptian and international NGOs have focused on the human rights violations which have been prominent in police procedures. The media have been preoccupied with whether al-Qaeda was responsible. Both the state’s response and wider public discussion have been confined to the surface of events and have ignored the socio-economic, cultural and political problems which are at the heart of Sinai’s disquiet. The emergence of a terrorist movement where none previously existed is symptomatic of major tensions and conflicts in Sinai and, above all, of its problematic relationship to the Egyptian nation-state. Unless these factors are addressed effectively, there is no reason to assume the terrorist movement can be eliminated...

06-21-2007, 07:56 PM
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 21 Jun 07:

Trafficking and the Role of the Sinai Bedouin (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373485)

On the evening of October 7, 2004, three trucks laden with explosives were driven to resorts in the northern Sinai where they were detonated, killing more than 30 people and wounding hundreds more. The targets were Israelis vacationing during their High Holidays at the usually tranquil desert oases of Taba, Ras al-Sultan and Tarabeen. At least three previously unknown terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for the terrorist incident; however, the leading suspect and group named by the Egyptian government was al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad ("Monotheism and Struggle"), comprised of Bedouin tribesmen from the Sinai Peninsula. The Taba attacks marked the first time that Bedouins from the Sinai were implicated in acts of terrorism on Egyptian soil. This trend continued with the bombings at Sharm el-Sheikh, as well as various shootings of police and other security forces. Analysts attribute this development to the fact that northern Bedouin tribesmen have not benefited economically as much as their southern brethren by the high level of tourism available in that part of the peninsula. Deep-seeded ideological, political and cultural differences between the Bedouin and the Egyptian government also explain the rise in terrorist activity.

While certainly a minority within the Bedouin population, the majority of illegal trafficking among Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories is conducted by Bedouin smugglers. Bedouin tradition reaches back thousands of years; they are fiercely independent, principled and tribal. Bedouin smugglers tend to be involved in illegal activities namely for the financial benefits and historically negligible risks that such actions entail. Activities targeting Israel have sometimes been ignored by the Egyptians, unlike the scenes of mass arrests and shootouts between Egyptian security forces and Bedouin tribesmen that have plagued the region since the attacks in the Sinai Peninsula. Since the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, this problem has intensified.....

12-02-2008, 03:43 AM
ISN Security Watch, 1 Dec 08: Sinai Bedouin Simmer (http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?ots591=4888CAA0-B3DB-1461-98B9-E20E7B9C13D4&lng=en&id=94282)

Clashes this month in the Sinai have again drawn attention to the plight of local Bedouin, largely sidelined in the peninsula's exponential economic expansion.

Armed protests and violent clashes (http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/923/eg5.htm) broke out in the northern Sinai earlier this month following the shooting deaths of four Bedouin tribesmen at the hands of police. Officials claimed that officers came under fire in at least one of the incidents and that the three men killed in the second, near the Israeli border (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/11/25/news/ML-Egypt-Israel-Border.php), were armed.....

.......Egypt has reportedly moved large troop deployments and dozens of armored personnel carriers into the northern Sinai as it seeks to stymie further Bedouin raids and protests.....

SWJ Blog
02-19-2011, 10:20 PM
Egypt Trip Report (Part I) (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/02/egypt-trip-report-part-i/)

Entry Excerpt:

Egypt Trip Report (Part I)
by Andrew Exum

Andrew Exum is a contributor to the Small Wars Journal and a fellow at the Center for a New American Security (http://www.cnas.org/). His dispatches from Egypt will be cross-posted here and on his own blog, Abu Muqawama (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama).

If you've been following my Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/abumuqawama), you'll know I arrived in Cairo a few days ago and will be here for another few days doing some research. I tacked this short visit onto a trip to Europe to help train a unit preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, and I must say it's good to be back in the Arabic-speaking world during what continues to be an exciting time in the region.

This is my first trip back to Egypt since living here for seven months in 2006, and since I am no one's idea of an expert on Egypt and Egyptian politics, I am grateful to my friends here in Cairo for hosting me and providing me with plenty of people to meet with.

The research questions I'll be trying to answer here concern the position in which the Egyptian Army and other security forces now find themselves.

Continue on for Andrew Exum's Egypt Trip Report...

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SWJ Blog
02-20-2011, 01:50 PM
Egypt Trip Report (Part II) (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/02/egypt-trip-report-part-ii/)

Entry Excerpt:

Egypt Trip Report (Part II)
by Andrew Exum

Andrew Exum is a contributor to Small Wars Journal and a fellow at the Center for a New American Security (http://www.cnas.org/). His dispatches from Egypt will be cross-posted here and on his own blog, Abu Muqawama (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama).

I am rather busy today, traveling around looking for answers to some of the security-related questions I posed in Part I of my Egypt Trip Report (see below). I want to briefly share, though, an interesting wrinkle to a rather polarized debate that has developed concerning the role the Internet and social media played in the protests in Egypt and the eventual downfall of Hosni Mubarak. Both sides of the debate, a friend told me last night, are essentially correct: yes, the Internet, Facebook and Twitter played a terribly important role in mobilizing the Egyptians who filled the streets of Egypt to protest the regime. But yes, too, it took ACTUAL BODIES out there in the streets and not "Facebook Revolutionaries" just re-tweeting the struggle from the comfort of their homes. One interesting piece of analysis I have now heard from several smart observers is that by shutting down the Internet and the cellular phone networks, the Egyptian regime actually increased the number of Egyptians on the streets protesting. Not only did shutting down the Internet force people to leave the house and physically connect with their fellow protesters, but one friend noted that if you really want to piss off all of Egypt, a good way to do so is by shutting off cell phone service. More than Facebook or Twitter, cellular phone service unites Egyptians in a virtual community. And by shutting down cellular phone service, you're sure to anger Egyptians of all generations and classes -- and not just the college kids with Facebook accounts. So score one for the enduring power of 20th Century technology, perhaps.

Nothing follows.

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SWJ Blog
01-24-2012, 06:40 PM
Rethinking Revolution: Egypt in Transition (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/rethinking-revolution-egypt-in-transition)

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SWJ Blog
03-26-2013, 08:02 AM
The Egyptian Sinai: A New Front for Jihadist Activity (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-egyptian-sinai-a-new-front-for-jihadist-activity)

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07-03-2013, 06:46 PM
Moderator's Note

Egypt features in many SWC threads and what is happening today deserves a new thread. A number of posts on another thread 'Can Military Governments be a good thing (for a while)?' have been moved here, so this opening thread will not appear first (ends).

The situation in Egypt may be the most current experiment on Military Government, we will have to see how it turns out. IMO it can be a good thing if done in accords with the original concept as was presented in the USMC Small Wars Manual.

07-03-2013, 09:26 PM
I was going to write the same thing. They seem to have decided to keep a relative low profile - if it can be called that way - and avoided the usual arrests.

We will see.

SWJ Blog
07-03-2013, 10:41 PM
Egypt News Update (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/egypt-news-update)

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07-04-2013, 02:21 AM
A good thing? No. A necessary thing, maybe, in some very rare circumstances, if the people to be governed accept it.

Anybody who starts thinking a military government would be a good thing for somebody else needs to be hit hard on the head before he has any chance to put that idea into action.

07-04-2013, 05:27 PM
I don't have a copy and would love to know.

As far as I can see, military coup is just another option for a bloodless transition. It depends on the motivation of the military. I don't think it needs to be automatically and arbitrarily attacked.

I define good as being better than a decent into internal Civil War. The Army appears to be trying to preserve the primarry purpose of Government which is to Protect and Provide the

jmm99 has provided several references for the manual. Chapter 13 on Military Government appears to be what the Egyptian Army is in so far as they are being selective as to who and what is replaced until elections can be established.

07-04-2013, 05:55 PM
I was going to write the same thing. They seem to have decided to keep a relative low profile - if it can be called that way - and avoided the usual arrests.

We will see.I was completely right, they only took a great deal of key members (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/04/egypt-military-arrest-warrants-muslim-brotherhood) into costudy. Morsi is still a free man, so far. ;)

Egypt's new military rulers have arrested the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader, security sources say, and issued warrants for up to 300 other members hours after ousting the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and taking him and his aides into military custody.

The day after a momentous night in Cairo has revealed the full extent of the military overthrow, with key support bases of the Muslim Brotherhood, including television stations, closed down or raided.

Security officials told the Associated Press and Reuters that the Brotherhood's supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, was arrested in a coastal city near the Libyan border on Wednesday and flown to Cairo in a military helicopter.

The Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said he could not confirm the reports because the group had lost their lines of communication to Badie.

@jmm99: Cui bono indeed?

Morsi certainly was elected in a quite democratic fashion but selected to ignore a good deal of that democracy as a sort of fading fashion. Shame on him. Religion alone does in any case not sort out the economy of a country. It is of course impossible to tell how much the last years in government have weakened the brotherhood and how much strenght they can win from this coup. ;)

SWJ Blog
07-05-2013, 03:00 AM
Egypt News Update II (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/egypt-news-update-ii)

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07-05-2013, 01:22 PM
Morsi certainly was elected in a quite democratic fashion but selected to ignore a good deal of that democracy as a sort of fading fashion.

Even so, does that justify removing him from office in an illegal manner? I feel like one of corollaries of adopting a democratic system is accepting that voters are going to make the wrong decision at times.

Religion alone does in any case not sort out the economy of a country.

As painful as it would have been for the people of Egypt to let the Morsi stagnation continue, I have to believe that with enough time many of his supporters would have come to accept exactly what you are saying. (Not all of them would have, admittedly. I’m an American. I know that ideology can blind people to facts. :wry:)

Al-Qaeda has been saying for years that democracy will never give an Islamist party the opportunity to succeed. Whatever favors the Egyptian military may have just done for their country’s economy may have been matched by the favors done for Al-Qaeda.

It is of course impossible to tell how much the last years in government have weakened the brotherhood and how much strength they can win from this coup. ;)

I did a short post on my blog [LINK (http://consanguinityandaffinity.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/authoritarian-semantics/)] questioning whether ‘coup’ is the best word for what happened in Egypt. I’m not saying that I know the right word, just that I suspect that coup might not be it.

07-06-2013, 01:45 PM
Egypt features in many SWC threads and what is happening today deserves a new thread. A number of posts on another thread 'Can Military Governments be a good thing (for a while)?' have been moved here, so this opening thread will not appear first.

Previous, recent threads of value are:

1) Arab armies and the 'Arab Spring' http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=17859

2) Arab Spring Phase 3? http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=17692

3) Egypt's "Spring" Revolution (now closed) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=12371

4) The transformation of the Arab World (which looks at the wider impact and the impact on AQ) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=16634

07-06-2013, 02:40 PM
I prefer to think that, in other parts of the world, military men think the same way.

IMO, the "mirroring" attitude of the American military--in particular, the Army--caused a lot of problems in "AfPak", especially with regard to old relationships from the time of working with the Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies against the Soviets. Assuming the military in other parts of the world think the same is problematic.

Future historians studying this aspect of the American military, at least circa 2001-2005 or so, are going to have a field day of it, I predict.

But each situation is different and Egypt is not Pakistan. I don't know the Egyptian situation very well so I should probably stick to commenting on South Asia.

This sort of thing always interests me though:

Egypt’s ruling military has warned against any interference in its murky economic empire amid a burgeoning power struggle with Islamists who control parliament, state media reported March 28.

The warning comes as the military prepares to hand power to a civilian leader when presidential elections end in June, and as the dominant Islamist Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) pressures the generals to sack the government.

Maj. Gen. Mahmud Nasr, a member of the ruling council, warned that the military “will not allow any interference from anyone in the armed forces’ economic projects,” the official MENA news agency reported.

In the unusually detailed defense of the military’s economic ventures, which include factories and hotels, Nasr said the businesses’ annual revenues were 1.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($198 million).


I have no friggin' idea really. As others have said, we shall see. Perhaps it is a genuinely popular coup that will lead to some more inclusive government and is one step on the road to better governance, maybe it's just one more chapter of the military behind the scenes from the 1950's onward. When does the clock start on the goodness of enlightened militaries stepping in when needed?

07-06-2013, 02:48 PM
Shashank Joshi, of RUSI, is always worth reading and he has a list of items to read:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/what-to-read-on-egypt/

The penultimate passage from a good Egyptian account:
Still, there is something utterly inspiring in seeing people rise up once more and show that they will not be taken for granted or intimidated. Of course, one has to wait and keep a vigilant eye before any final conclusions can be made about where Egypt is going.


07-08-2013, 04:13 PM
Laura Dean (http://www.lawfareblog.com/author/lauradean/) is a freelance journalist living and working in Egypt and sometimes other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. She grew up in Bahrain and graduated from the University of Chicago. Previously, she worked as an election observer with the Carter Center in Tunisia and Libya and served on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, DC.

Over the last week, she's posted a dairy of events in Egypt:

Cairo Diary, June 30: An Introduction and the Scene at Tahrir (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/06/tahrir-square-sunday-june-30/)

Cairo Diary, July 1: The Day After Tamarod (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/cairo-diary-july-1-the-day-after-tamarod/)

Cairo Diary, July 2: Brotherhood and Defiance (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/cairo-diary-july-2-brotherhood-and-defiance/)

Cairo Diary, July 3: Praying We Don’t Get Fooled Again (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/cairo-diary-july-3-praying-we-dont-get-fooled-again/)

Cairo Diary, July 4: The First Day of the Rest of Egypt’s Life (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/cairo-diary-july-4-the-first-day-of-the-rest-of-egypts-life/)

Cairo Diary, July 5: “Friday of Rejection”—and Violence (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/cairo-diary-july-5-friday-of-rejection-and-violence/)

Cairo Diary, July 6: A New Prime Minister, Maybe (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/cairo-diary-july-6-a-new-prime-minister-maybe/)

Cairo Diary, July 7: An Outside Perspective (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/cairo-diary-july-7-an-outside-perspective/)

From the 6 Jul piece, (IMO) an astute observation:

During the Parliamentary elections in 2011, I worked as an election observer in the Northern governorate of Beheira and Marsa Matrouh on the Libyan border. In both places, I visited many small towns and hamlets. The only political parties I saw with any consistency there were the Freedom and Justice Party (the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm) and the Salafi Noor Party. They had the numbers, they were on the streets. At the time, those who later came to become the opposition said the Islamists had an unfair advantage: they had been organized for years, these people said; they had existing charity networks; they had money that allowed them to set up cheap markets to sell meat and other staples at cut rates; they had a natural networks in their mosques, many of which encouraged their congregations to vote for Islamic parties.

The answer, then as now, is suck it up: if the opposition wants to get through to people in a meaningful way, they too must go to the villages and organize.



07-08-2013, 05:58 PM
Via FP Blog a CNN interview of General Dempsey, US CJCS, which includes this portion on the situation in Eygpt:
CROWLEY: When you look at what's going on the streets of Egypt and has been for the past several days, what is the U.S. thinking that?

DEMPSEY: Well, at one level, our stake is we probably have 60,000 or so dual-American-Egyptian citizens in Egypt. And we have several hundred official American citizens serving in Egypt. But more broadly, look, Egypt is a great country. It's a cornerstone of the Middle East. It's got an incredible history and culture and the world needs Egypt to be stable.

CROWLEY: But they don't want their government in anymore.

DEMPSEY: Well, you know, I - again, that's for them to decide. And I really mean that sincerely. And incidentally, I mean, as a student of that part of the world, as someone who lived there for most of the last 10 years, not in Egypt but in the region, I mean, what we're seeing is that democracy takes a while to stick.


Bill Moore
07-08-2013, 06:36 PM

Islamic lynch mob waving Al Qaeda banners throw terrified teenage boy off 20ft ledge before beating him to death. Teenagers thrown off rooftop ledge by Morsi supporters in Alexandria, were celebrating ousting of Islamist leader when they met pro-Morsi mob. One of the members of the mob were carrying an al-Qaeda flag. Two boys are thrown off the ledge and beaten as they lie motionless. One of them, aged 19, was killed, according to local media.


Massacre in Cairo deepens Egypt crisis

At least 51 dead after gunmen open fire at Muslim Brotherhood protest against military coup in Egyptian capital.

07-09-2013, 04:04 PM
NYT, Video of Army Shooting Islamists in Cairo Stokes Anger (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/video-of-army-shooting-islamists-in-cairo-stokes-anger/?ref=world) (8 Jul 2013). 16 vid clips; limited editorial comment.



07-09-2013, 09:43 PM
Two very different commentaries. First from Israel's Haaretz, which ends with:
Israel is mainly concerned right now about the possibility that violence in Sinai − where the Egyptian army has long had trouble coping with radical Islamist groups − will spill over into attacks on its territory. But as usual, it’s also preoccupied with the question of whether its intelligence agencies were blindsided.

In this regard, sections of Military Intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi’s speech to the Herzliya Conference four months ago have recently been republished. The speech shows the Israel Defense Forces had long thought Morsi’s government was unstable, and that a severe crisis in Egypt could topple it. That certainly wasn’t a precise forecast of what happened, but expecting any intelligence agency to provide such a forecast is unrealistic.

If the Egyptians themselves didn’t foresee the speed and determination of Morsi’s ouster, it’s hard to expect Israeli or Western intelligence agencies to do so. The question that should be asked, however, is whether Israeli intelligence had any indications about the specific events of last week.


07-09-2013, 09:46 PM
The second commentary is from Dr Omar Ashour, an Egyptian, who provides a succinct context for the crisis and ends with:
But if the junta-led political process somehow did roll back from exclusion, political and media repression, we may yet see a transition similar to Turkey post-1997. The scenarios aren't certain, but what is certain is that the future of Egypt's democracy is in great danger.

What is also certain is that the consequences of ending democratisation in Egypt won't be limited to the country itself. What happens in Egypt never stays in Egypt.


07-12-2013, 06:43 PM
That the USA was sponsoring/financing the present ant- Morsi takeover. Link to the report.

07-15-2013, 10:28 PM
Aljazeera also ran a piece on the criticism of their reporting. They gave quite a bit of space to the NED to refute claims against them. Its possible some three letter people run sources through them i would guess, similar to usaid ect but the reality is probably a whole lot less sexy than the original report.

The comparison between the military's role in turkey and their new one in egypt is pretty interesting. I wonder if the egyptian generals are forging their own path or looking at similar coups elsewhere...

07-19-2013, 09:49 AM
Dr Omar Ashour's column reveals the contest in Egypt is not new, it happened in 1954 too (partly cited below) and then looks at today's scene:http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/disarming-egypt-s-militarized-state-by-omar-ashour

Egypt’s crisis has been called the worst in its history. But in fact, it bears a striking resemblance to a previous episode, almost 60 years ago.

On February 28, 1954, almost a million protesters besieged Cairo’s Abdin Palace, then being used by Gamal Abdel Nasser and other leaders of the July 1952 coup. The protesters’ main demands were the restoration of Egypt’s fragile democratic institutions, the release of political prisoners, and the army’s return to its barracks.

The two-month crisis of 1954 was sparked by the removal of Egypt’s president, General Mohammed Naguib, by Nasser and his faction. As in 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood was at the center of events, mobilizing on the side of the deposed Naguib. But, following Nasser’s promises to hold elections in June 1954 and to hand over power to civilians, one of the Brotherhood’s leaders, Abd al-Qadr Audeh, dismissed the protesters.

Nasser’s promises were empty....

He concludes that:
Any resolution to the current crisis should aim to save the remnants of the only gains made so far in Egypt’s revolution: basic freedoms and democratic institutions. That will require ceasing violent repression, stopping propaganda and incitement in pro-junta media and at pro-Morsi protests, and trust-building measures.

A credible guarantor, possibly the Obama administration, needs to be heavily involved in this process, given the absence of trust among Egypt’s main political actors (indeed, every institution is politicized and willing to cheat if it can). Finally, a referendum on any final deal is essential.

In short, the credibility of ballots and democracy must be restored in Egypt (and throughout the region); bullets and violence must not be allowed to rule.

From my armchair I cannot see the USA taking on such a role, which cannot be private.

There is a main thread on the current situation: Egypt: has the Spring ended? So a merger one day, but this article warrants it's own thread today.

07-30-2013, 03:51 PM
Sometimes one gets to read and contrast the depth and accuracy of reports on Egypt. Judge for yourself.

BBC analyst:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23493214

A short interview with Joel Beinin, Professor of History of the Middle East at Stanford University (California):http://www.opendemocracy.net/joel-beinin-giuseppe-acconcia/egypt%E2%80%99s-new-interim-government-is-not-leftist-coalition

A longer interview with Sameh Naguib, a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt (who don't appear to be that revolutionary):http://www.opendemocracy.net/sameh-naguib-rosemary-bechler/egypt%E2%80%99s-long-revolution-knowing-your-enemy

07-31-2013, 04:28 AM
I started with an idea, that a military, any military, is sworn to defend ( and feels a real duty towards) it citizens.

Now, reality is that whom the military considers "citizens" is a cultural matter. Further, any military, particularly in those parts of the world (like Indonesia) where the military is expected to fund its own operations (though various means) may be divided between the military's best interest and the citizen's best interest, may present a natural wedge between the military and the citizen. Despite this most military's feel duty bound to protect and defend the civilian population.

Where there is a total break down of civilian rule the military feels compelled, based on their oath, to step in. Is this so wrong? Should we not find ways to support this? If "yes" what are the parameters of our support?

07-31-2013, 08:34 AM

Your last post appears to resume the discussion on another thread 'Can Military Governments be a good thing (for a while)?' :http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=18422

So mindful of this declared pondering, I think the question you pose is best answered on the other thread.

SWJ Blog
08-06-2013, 12:20 AM
Egypt: When a Coup is Not a Coup (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/egypt-when-a-coup-is-not-a-coup)

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SWJ Blog
08-17-2013, 12:40 AM
The 23 Twitter Accounts to Follow on Egypt (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/the-23-twitter-accounts-to-follow-on-egypt)

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08-18-2013, 12:07 PM
Dr Omar Ashour's latest column, which examines broadly what could happen as the whirlwind of events spins on:http://slink.eu/xx

Note a number of comments on the current situation in Egypt, with possible implications beyond, are on two other threads: 'Egypt and the Treaty of Westphalia' and 'Can Military Governments be a good thing (for a while)?'.

If you want to read more then Shashank Joshi provides a pointer:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/what-to-read-on-egypt-post-massacre-edition/

08-18-2013, 02:02 PM
If nothing else, the Arab Spring will go dormant in Egypt because the military will come to the fore (albeit reluctantly) for the next twelve months as it re-examines what happened in the past twelve.

Unrest is all around bad for the military and its economic interests, so I can't imagine it will rush headlong into a transition of the type being advocated/instigated by the US Govt. and current administration. It is going to develop policy, get on message, and move forward deliberately.

08-18-2013, 06:48 PM
One thing that seems to be forgotten in all these discussions is the Egyptian Army is not acting alone. There are millions and millions of Egyptians who support their actions. This article says that one of the curious aspects of this support is that the old line liberals, the guys who opposed Mubarak and believe all the things we believe in, are almost 100% behind the army.


This and other things I've read here and there lead me to believe this goes way beyond parliamentary niceties, definition of coups and the bleatings of the flock inside the beltway. This is a life and death thing the resolution of which won't be pretty.

It seems to me that one side views the Muslim Brotherhood as having done their best to stack the deck politically when they reached power, the object of which was to insure they never left power. And it seems to me that the reason they are viewed as having wanted to do this so they could transform Egypt into a thing dominated by one view of religion, theirs. Their opponents don't like this and obviously feel there is no way to stop it short of doing what they have done and are doing.

The Muslim Brotherhood seems to feel that they won fair and square and they are fully justified in putting the President beyond judicial review and all the other things they did or tried to do. They won. So now that they've been kicked out in a highly irregular manner, I am guessing they feel that they've tried the political route and got cheated of their just reward, the authority to reshape Egypt into the Islamic entity they wanted. If they feel that way there is no good reason to go back to open peaceful politics.

So I think it may be probable that both sides feel the other side is cheated them, is going to make Egypt into something they will not abide, is not to be trusted and must be stopped, however. If that is the case (and are the musings of somebody who only knows one word of Arabic-habibi) there will be no option other than fighting it out and crushing the opposition. This may get very bad.

It also is may be a lot bigger than Egypt. Maybe this is a reflection of the fight in the Arab/Muslim world between the secular and takfiri. If that be the case, and since it is taking place in the biggest Arab country of them all, it will have ramifications far beyond Egypt. It seems the oil states may be viewing it that way considering the money they have been pouring in on the side of the Egyptian Army.

God pity the Egyptians.

Bob's World
08-18-2013, 07:14 PM
"Arab Spring" is another overly vague label that confuses more than it helps.

The people of the greater middle east have been attempting to overcome and force evolution on local and foreign regimes affecting the governance over their lives for generations. In the modern era to push back the Ottomans, Europeans and ultimately, Americans, began in 1905. Turkey and Iran made major advances early, but WWI, and the replacement of the Ottomans by European powers placed such movements back into check. As did US led Cold War operations.

Egypt is but one of many nations who will struggle for generations to get to what works for them. Best thing we can do is be patient, avoid excessive interference or manipulation, and also maintain an open mind to work equally with every version/flavor of governance that is likely to emerge from all of this.

We need to be careful of setting precedence that will tie our hands when KSA or Jordan, or other close allies finally get caught up in this inevitable cycle. Our doctrine and instinct is to weigh in to force stability or to shape things to our current desires. We need to guard against those instincts.

08-19-2013, 12:09 AM
So I think it may be probable that both sides feel the other side is cheated them, is going to make Egypt into something they will not abide, is not to be trusted and must be stopped, however. If that is the case (and are the musings of somebody who only knows one word of Arabic-habibi) there will be no option other than fighting it out and crushing the opposition. This may get very bad.

It also is may be a lot bigger than Egypt. Maybe this is a reflection of the fight in the Arab/Muslim world between the secular and takfiri. If that be the case, and since it is taking place in the biggest Arab country of them all, it will have ramifications far beyond Egypt. It seems the oil states may be viewing it that way considering the money they have been pouring in on the side of the Egyptian Army.

My current job pretty much calls for me to understand the workings (.mil and .gov) of one country: Egypt. I am fortunate in that it is the first time in my career where I can become fully invested in a pretty straightforward task. I am deep into a constant review of profiles, analyses, commentary, and breaking news, and I still do not know anything near what I should, but from what I have digested the past four weeks I think the future is fairly positive.

The strong secular traditions, and liberal tendencies that resonate within Egypt are indeed experiencing significant shifts that seem to be nudged further along by the military. There isn't a lot that suggests the military wants to play kingmaker, and Bob is right to caution that our policy needs to tread carefully and not follow the standard line. The current administration is already in a Catch-22 of sorts, and sometimes the best thing to do is to let things settle and shake out rather than rushing headlong into another policy cesspool.

We can pick up a few clues of the nature of the response, from the footage and stills that are out there of the crack down. One specific one that comes to mind are the sequence of pics of the armored 4-wheel vehicle spilling off of the 4-story overpass. The aftermath pics show a policeman lying on his side, apparently deceased. Around him are at least a dozen expended 37mm tear gas casings that were fired by policemen who responded to the scene. Perhaps they weren't outfitted with anything more than less-lethal tools (already a positive for the perception of police response), but the fact that the scene is not littered with 7.62mm shell cases tells another story as well.

It will be some months and this situation may continue to simmer for longer while the military assumes a more hands-on role in the way ahead for Egypt, but I don't see it approaching a degree of chaos like much of Syria. The people who voted the MB in seem to have been riding on a wave of anti-Mubarak sentiment (much like the Tea Party adherents in the US), but many of them clearly realized that Mr. Morsi was not able to produce expected results.

I can't say whether those expectations were unreasonable, but the next guy who make sit to the top to govern will have learned a very valuable lesson.

08-19-2013, 12:57 AM

What % of people who voted for Morsi do you guess feel some buyers regret? And how much do you think is because of disappointment with the economy and how much because they were afraid of the way things were developing politically?

08-19-2013, 01:16 AM
I don't know about buyer's remorse--there's some for sure--as much as people are distancing themselves from an organization that is going to start laying low lest it draw detentions, arrests, etc.

Cairo and its immediate neighborhoods are what, 20 million people? That many people were not on the street after Eid al-Fitr's end.

The narrative the MB is using is unique when you think about it. Notice the deliberate use of "anti-coup" verbiage on protesters' signs, rather than "Morsi supporter". They seem to be paying attention to "optics" (I hate that word.

08-19-2013, 01:39 AM
Do you think it might go the way of Algeria, sort of? I know the people and the geography are vastly different but what I mean is going the way of Algeria in the sense of the Islamists who lost their power going the insurgency route.

08-19-2013, 02:00 AM
Perhaps. I do not fully understand their agenda or allegiances, but there are militants in the Sinai who give the security apparatus problems. Cairo is different terrain though.
The Mubarak regime had a significant apparatus to watch and control those discontents, so I think it would be hard for any hardline, radical opponents to take action without it ratcheting up to pretty open conflicy very quickly. Egypt is not some burgeoning state. Its security forces would be fairly capable of controlling a critical situation unless you're talking about a very wide sort of insurgency, which I do not see this expanding to.

I will say this though...Egypt's current state of affairs is a complex problem and the issues are not black and white. What's even more interesting is the fact that you won't be able to pull tribal identity out of the average man on the street like you might an Afghan farmer from Helmand or Khandahar.

08-19-2013, 12:31 PM
Jcustis remarked in Post 26 partly about:
We can pick up a few clues of the nature of the response, from the footage and stills that are out there of the crack down. One specific one that comes to mind are the sequence of pics of the armored 4-wheel vehicle spilling off of the 4-story overpass.

I've only seen headlines about this incident, so EA Worldview provide a very short video clip before the 'spilling off' and this commentary:
One of the dramatic stories during Wednesday’s mass killings in Egypt was that anti-regime protesters had pushed a police vehicle off a bridge in a Cairo suburb of Nasr City, near the sit-in that was being attacked by security forces.

We featured a picture of the incident, which supposedly killed several officers, and video which showed the vehicle on the ground as clashes raged around it.

This morning, however, a video has been posted which appears to give a very different version of the event — amid congestion on the 6 October Bridge in Nasr City, the police vehicle hits a bus. It then reverses and skids off the bridge.

While men are following the police van as it backs up, they are not close enough to have “pushed” the vehicle.


08-19-2013, 12:49 PM
I thought this might be appropriate here too ...

From and article entitled "Egypt’s Military: Doing What Germany’s Should Have Done in 1933 (http://www.intercollegiatereview.com/index.php/2013/08/16/egypts-military-doing-what-the-wehrmacht-should-have-done-in-1933/)"

Sudanese writer Al-Hajj Warraq, got it exactly right in an Egyptian television interview last year. He said:

Democracy is about more than just the ballot box. Democracy is a culture engraved upon the cerebral box before it is the ballot box. One cannot talk about freedom in the absence of free minds. The tragedy of the Arab Spring is that when the tyrannical regimes fell, the fruits were reaped by movements that preach closed-mindedness, rather than free thinking. The outcome will be regimes that are worse than those that were toppled.

Apparently, the Egyptian people – at least the 30 million who were in the streets marching against Morsi – agreed with him.

08-19-2013, 11:03 PM

There is video out now from a ground level POV, and itt is chilling to watch the vehicle slam to the ground on its roof. The occupants likely died on impact.

I never believed the descriptions that the crowd pushed it off the bridge. Bad driving was of course the less obvious cause.

Bob's World
08-20-2013, 01:02 AM
Revolution is the ugliest, most brutal form of democracy. All the more reason for governments to open legal venues to their people to express their political discontent. This is the essence of our own bill of rights. But Kings cling to power tightly, typically only turning loose of total control as their head strikes the cobblestones.

08-20-2013, 11:29 PM
Egyptian police General Amr in an interview:
We are 90 million Egyptians and there are only 3 million Muslim Brotherhood We need six months for. liquidate or imprison all this is not a problem, as we have already done in the 1990s.

Link to Le Monde, French newspaper, to a IMO badly structured article, which includes this quote:http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2013/08/19/il-faut-tuer-ou-arreter-les-leaders-des-freres-musulmans_3463103_3212.html

No wonder some speculate the 'Algerian model' maybe followed:http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/egypts-generals-following-algerian-playbook

08-21-2013, 12:23 AM

Slightly off topic but the appropriateness of the articles you cite reminded me of the splendid job you are doing as moderator. Keep up the good work.

08-22-2013, 06:59 AM
Video discussion on the second phase oh the Arab Spring


08-22-2013, 07:05 AM
Interview of Author Eric Stakelback Author of The Brotherhood a book about the Muslim Brotherhood and how dangerous they are and their links all the way back to NAZI Germany!


10-10-2013, 04:34 PM
A powerful Reuters special report, their title is 'The real force behind Egypt's 'revolution of the state':http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/10/us-egypt-interior-specialreport-idUSBRE99908D20131010

It starts with (minus one passage):
Little attention was paid when a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders broke free from their cells in a prison in the far off Wadi el-Natroun desert. But the incident, which triggered a series of prison breaks by members of the Islamist group around the country, caused panic among police officers fast losing their grip on Egypt.

In all, 200 policemen and security officers were killed that day, Jan 28, called the Friday of Rage by anti-Mubarak demonstrators. Some had their throats slit. One of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders to escape was Mohamed Mursi, who would become president the following year.

As Egypt appeared to move towards the removal of President Mursi's MB government, much was made of the potential for interaction with the Egyptian military by the US military - was there a relationship with the "batons".

10-10-2013, 05:34 PM
For sometime I have wondered about the level of political violence in the Sinai peninsula. During the Mubarak era there were irregular terrorist attacks on the tourist areas along the eastern shoreline (Gulf of Aqaba) and sometimes violent clashes with others, including the Bedouin. For details try a search on BBC News. Wiki:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinai_Peninsula

A suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden car on Thursday into a checkpoint outside a coastal city (El-Arish) in Egypt's volatile Sinai Peninsula and detonated it, killing three soldiers and a policeman..


Strategic why? Aside from geography there are the tourists from West European, with some Russians too, are a major employer and a key source of foreign exchange. Egypt's main foreign exchange source is the Suez Canal, which remains a key global shipping route and last month Jihadists claimed responsibility for RPGs fired at a container ship:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23918642

Then there is the running sore of the Gaza Strip, with a Hamas government and the problems of border control - the smuggling via tunnels into Gaza. Egypt of course signed the 1979 peace agreement with Israel, which imposes limits on the number of Egyptian troops allowed and the presence of the partly-US observer mission MFO:http://mfo.org/

In August 2013 it is suspected Israel launched an air strike on suspected Islamic militants, illustrating patience may be limited when Egypt's capability to exert control is limited:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23642422

This week I learnt from an observer of another factor - the presence before Mursi fell of thousands of Jihadist militants. These are not the "usual suspects" i.e. AQ as the vast majority of Egypt's jihadists renounced the violent jihad, in an agreement with state security many years ago. Those who did not agree remained in prison, two thousand were released by Mursi's government and eighteen thousand who had emigrated were allowed home.

Some of these ex-Jihadists reportedly went to the Sinai, where the MB was training its own street fighters (although I am sure they had another name).

A nice "cocktail" and fully stirred up by the removal of Mursi's government, with the follow-on action taken to ban the MB.

A place to watch.

10-13-2013, 03:08 PM
All things considered, the Egyptian military should hope that if an insurrection blows up, it will happen on the Sinai rather than take on an urban character, as it would be easier to isolate and eliminate them far from the cover of a civilian population and probing media cameras.

The only real danger would be a programme for the construction and launching of suicide fireships and torpedoes to take out the commercial shipping.

10-13-2013, 04:32 PM
A German reporter from the German public TV's studio in Cairo attempted to get reports about increasing religious radicalisation of the tribes on the Sinai out to the public to no avail. He had done all the journalism, but the media at home wasn't interested.

Only during the revolution in Egypt he was finally able to push tiny bits of info to the public during interviews (not during the news time slots itself).

So this Sinai thing was apparently visible early on for someone in the region and the escalation was predictable by approx. 2009 or maybe earlier.

I doubt this rather remote and barren place is going to produce more than a few irritations, though: An occasional shot at ships in the Canal, at Israeli or Egyptian border guards, some extortion of Gaza smugglers, maybe some extremists from the mainland going into hiding in Sinai.

Egypt as a whole has enough of an incentive to keep the canal usable.

10-14-2013, 12:18 PM
Try this:
A 6-minute analysis of recent events in Egypt, explaining why the military-backed interim Government is more concerned with Salafist attacks in the Sinai Peninsula than it is with ongoing mass protests


10-14-2013, 06:12 PM
There is an undeniable uptick in violence in the Sinai, not only in frequency but also intensity. Every morning the first thing I do when I get to work is browse the Egyptian news websites, Al-Aribiya, and Al-Jazeera, and there are usually accounts of a shooting, bombing, or security sweep.

At this point, it looks to me like the militants are trying to accomplish a blend of denying Egyptian security forces freedom of mobility in the area, and executing attacks that are violent enough to give less-determined forces reason for pause. This in term allows them to carry on with the illicit activities that are the bread and butter for the Bedouins who are marginalized by the central government. They don't seem to have the resources to conduct much more than localized, small-scale attacks that are fairly defensive in nature, but there are occasions when they have massed

There have been a few spectacular events like the 5 Aug 2012 attack in vicinity of the Karem Abus Salem Border Crossing where 16 soldiers were killed after a large number of attackers stormed the location during the iftar meal.

On 18 Aug 2013, two busloads of off-duty policemen were attacked and essentially murdered after being forced off the two buses they were travelling on, and that sparked another wave of security operations.

A recent RPG attacks on a passing container ship in the Suez was a worry, even though it did not cause significant damage, because it is the Suez after all.

If Egypt does not get a handle on the underlying causes of the militancy in the area, if will have a slow-burning insurgency on its hands that will require regular kinetic operations (with Israeli coordination no doubt) to try and keep a lid on things.

We all know how that tends to turn out. :wry:

Bob's World
10-15-2013, 03:27 PM
If Egypt does not get a handle on the underlying causes of the militancy in the area, if will have a slow-burning insurgency on its hands that will require regular kinetic operations (with Israeli coordination no doubt) to try and keep a lid on things.

We all know how that tends to turn out. :wry:

"The underlying cause of the militancy in the area" is, and has been, the government of Egypt.

Of course governments never like hearing this, and typically the government is the legal/legitimate actor in these contests, and the population in question and those who act out are almost always the illegal/illegitimate actor.

But legal and legitiamate is not the same as right, or just.

I believe these are the same people that Moses took sanctuary among when he was forced to flee after he murdered the overseeer. We all know how that story ended...

10-16-2013, 01:36 AM

I am finally getting to Killcullen's Accidental Guerilla to add to my morning commute's reading. It's the only thing good about the MacDill express.

I forgot that I wrote the following in it:

"One can neither kill nor bribe a resistance out of existance, perhaps into the closet, but not out of existance."

Now where did that come from?

10-22-2013, 10:56 PM
A new report that maybe of value:
The Saban Center’s new Analysis Paper, Sinai Security: Opportunities for Unlikely Cooperation Among Egypt, Israel, and Hamas, examines the interests of various actors in, and neighboring, Sinai; considers areas of mutual concern; and lays out the individual capabilities Egypt, Israel and Hamas have for addressing these threats, as well as opportunities for all parties to combine their core strengths to better address mutual interests. Despite these shared interests, the relationship between each of these actors is also extremely complicated. As such, this paper also considers obstacles to cooperation and opportunities for the United States to encourage trust-building and intelligence cooperation between Egypt and Israel.


11-17-2013, 05:22 PM
A rather gloomy report, although some interesting local attitudes are revealed and the Egyptian state response is - well - robust:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/10454020/Suez-Canal-targeted-as-war-in-Sinai-spreads.html

Numbers of attacks:
..the number of reported jihadi attacks in the Sinai has fallen rom 104 in July to 29 in October.

It is quality that matters:
In September, a car bomb set off by a recruit, a disillusioned former army officer, came close to killing the interior minister in Cairo.

12-27-2013, 02:06 AM
Dr Omar Ashour, Exeter University, always gives a valuable insight into his home country and this time seeks to answer:
what explains the decision to stage a coup and the repressive follow-up? Political science can offer a few explanations.

Just in case you forgot or preferred to not know:
in the post-coup environment, the levels of repression and bloodshed are unprecedented in its modern history.

The number of victims killed by security forces in less than 7 hours on August 14 in Raba al-Adawiyya and al-Nahda Squares exceeds the number of victims of Muammar al-Qaddafi's two-day massacre in Abu Selim Prison in June 1996 (1269 victims), and Napoleon's massacre in the process of storming al-Azhar Mosque in 1799 (around 600 deaths). The Abu Zaabal massacre [Ar] in which 38 anti-coup political prisoners were killed inside a prison transport van, exceeded the number of victims of a 1957 massacre committed by Nasser's security forces in Tora prison.


As others have asked - will Egypt follow the Algerian way?

12-27-2013, 06:52 PM
The New York Times reported this morning that the Egyptian gov has started to sieze money, assets and land from people it perceives as Brotherhood supporters. This is in my view a very smart small war move, take their money. No matter how stout their hearts are, they cannot fight effectively without money.

That leads me to conclude that the Egyptian army may know what it's about when it comes to small war fighting. Then it occurred to me that the Algerian army and gov won a very hard small war back in the 90s. So I got a question for all but especially JCustis, how effective have Arab armies been at fighting small wars and suppresing insurgencies over the years? Do we study their efforts?

12-28-2013, 01:58 AM
the Egyptian gov has started to sieze money, assets and land from people it perceives as Brotherhood supporters.

Would there be any sort of due process involved in that?

Sounds like an excellent way to get your hands on some money, assets, or land, or to get a bit of revenge on someone you don't like. Call him a Brotherhood supporter and take all his stuff. How effective that proves to be as a COIN technique remains to be seen.

01-27-2014, 09:32 AM
Hat tip to Londonistani via Twitter to this review of why:
The revolutionaries lost this opportunity, and lost it because they failed to recognize the limits of their power.


03-16-2014, 06:07 PM
An unusually long anonymous Reuters article, which appears to have had access to officialdom, residents and just maybe others:http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/16/uk-egypt-sinai-specialreport-idUKBREA2F05320140316

Amidst the details is the suggestion the militants are moving into Egypt proper.

03-25-2014, 09:18 AM
Interesting to see where this goes...

http://www.zawya.com/story/Egyptian_court_sentences_529_Brotherhood_members_t o_death-TR20140324nL5N0ML1F15/?lok=140037140324&weeklynewsletter&zawyaemailmarketing

Egyptian court sentences 529 Brotherhood members to death

An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death for murder and other offences on Monday, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement that is likely to fuel instability.

Family members stood outside the courthouse screaming after the verdict - the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt's modern history, defence lawyers said.

03-27-2014, 04:39 PM
Published by the Dutch ICCT, a review of the situation, by an American author; it provides a good review, but is IMHO hopelessly optimistic that Egypt will adopt a CT strategy that is not blunt and violent:http://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Gold-Security-In-The-Sinai-March-2014.pdf

03-27-2014, 11:34 PM
"Egypt's main foreign exchange source is the Suez Canal, which remains a key global shipping route and last month Jihadists claimed responsibility for RPGs fired at a container ship."

Apparently the Chinese and probably others are getting concerned.

From: StratRisks at http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/18623 March 25, 2014

The growing economic alliance between Israel and China is moving forward with a $2 billion, 300 kilometer freight rail link connecting Eilat, on the Red Sea, with Ashdod Port, on the Mediterranean, Germany’s Deutsche Welle news magazine reported on Monday. ...

The rail link will both increase access to goods for Africa, where China is the continent’s biggest partner, with trade worth $120 billion, while also providing an alternative shipping route to the Suez Canal, controlled by Egypt.

03-27-2014, 11:45 PM
The RPG attack was in September 2013, not last month - as you posted. I thought I had missed something. See:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23918642

Interesting strategic development, a Sino-Israeli investment in a railway line. A good catch.

05-17-2014, 04:09 PM
A new Henry Jackson Society report 'Terror in the Sinai', has yet to be read here; their summary:
...examines the terrorist threat coming from the Sinai Peninsula. The report assesses the presence of al-Qaeda and its ideology in the Sinai, emerging ties between Salafi-jihadist groups and local Bedouins, and the successes and failures of the Egyptian army’s recent military efforts in confronting the threat. It finds strong indications of an influx of foreign fighters and weapons into the Sinai and a threat against the Egyptian state and Israel that is more co-ordinated and sophisticated than ever before.


05-17-2014, 04:17 PM
A commentary by a retired Indian intelligence officer and now a public commentator:http://www.sunday-guardian.com/analysis/al-qaeda-hovers-as-egypt-persecutes-brotherhood

I'd missed this detail in earlier coverage:
The strangest feature of these trials was that many of the accused, who were sentenced, were not even in custody....a Minya court, on 27 April, sentenced to death Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 682 others for killing or attempting to murder police officers during the August 2013 disturbances....The New York Times said (28 April) that only one police officer was killed for which 683 were sentenced to death. The same Minya judge had reversed 492 of the 529 death sentences passed last month and commuted them to life except for 37.

Bob's World
05-17-2014, 05:50 PM
This is a move that is unlikely to end well

Injustice under the rule of law targeting a specific population is historically one of the most powerful drivers of insurgency.

A wise judge would suspend the sentence and place all onto a form of probation that allows them legal means to reform their approach to addressing their grievances and avoid the hangman's noose.

Maybe hang one or two who are clearly guilty of capital crimes to send a clear message to all.

Otherwise, this a bit too much like what went down in revolutionary France...

09-29-2014, 10:55 PM
A short piece from Haaretz by Aaron Zelin, which includes remarks on the appearance in Gaza of IS and their social wlefare activity:http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/.premium-1.618107?v=310D37AA19A01126DAE8CC3C3A150929

10-13-2014, 09:46 PM
Elliott Abrams from CFR is I think a Washington "insider", OK in the past, but he is rather direct in this article:http://blogs.cfr.org/abrams/2014/10/13/stability-in-egypt/

He cites in part a collective "concerned experts" letter to the President:
Whatever assistance al-Sisi may or may not provide in the fight against violent extremism in the region is already outweighed by the radicalism and instability he is cultivating every day in Egypt through his oppressive policies….There is great concern that al-Sisi’s rule is fueling radicalization; violence and terrorism in Egypt have increased markedly since the July 2013 coup, as the regime continues to close off avenues for peaceful political dissent. The post-coup crackdown has left more than 2000 protesters dead—including more than 1000 killed deliberately and systematically on a single day in August 2013, rivaling the Tiananmen massacre. Tens of thousands more are in prison, many detained without charge for extended periods or subject to mass trials in rigged courts, suffering torture and inhumane conditions. There are now more than 70 imprisoned Egyptians on extended hunger strikes protesting this brutality, and several are at death’s door, including American citizen Mohammed Soltan and youth leader Ahmed Douma. Sisi’s government is also exerting increasing pressure on the few remaining Egyptian civil society groups that report on or criticize human rights abuses, particularly if they dare to cooperate with international organizations or accept their support

10-25-2014, 07:21 PM
Cairo (AFP) - Egypt imposed a state of emergency Saturday across parts of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula as the military pounded suspected jihadists after a suicide car bombing killed 30 soldiers.

Friday's bombing was the deadliest attack on security forces since the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, to the fury of his supporters.

The state of emergency in the north and centre of the Sinai will remain in place for three months, the president's office said.

A curfew is in force from 5:00 pm to 7:00 am.

Egypt also announced it would close the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, the only entry to the Palestinian territory not controlled by Israel.


02-05-2015, 08:44 AM
A reasonably comprehensive report on the attacks on January 29th, by "Wilayat Sinai[/URL]”:
These organized and qualitative attacks targeted 10 military headquarters and bases in three different cities at the same time, including the largest headquarters of the army in Sinai, known as Battalion 101, in el-Arish. The attacks left more than 35 military personnel dead and 70 others wounded.
Link:[URL]http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/egypt-sinai-wilaya-attacks-army.html? (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/11/islamic-state-sinai-threat-hamas-gaza.html)

02-11-2015, 07:29 PM
A long article on Egypt in LRB:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n04/tom-stevenson/sisis-way

It ends with:
The Egyptian state demands compliance: ‘security’ is all that counts. Anyone thought to be a threat to civil order is extracted from the population, locked up and imaginatively punished, terrifying those who remain outside the cage. And of those who four years ago dreamed of a new society and are not themselves behind bars, most are now succumbing to the lethargy of defeat.

Let General Sisi explain. An interview (in English):http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-egyptian-president-sisi-calls-for-help-in-is-fight-a-1017434.html

03-05-2015, 02:16 PM
Dr. Omar Ashour's latest Brookings paper 'Collusion to Crackdown: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt' and summarised in part:
Ashour concludes that Egypt's prospects for social stability and economic recovery will remain bleak if the relationship between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood is not redefined within institutional, democratic rules of political competition. He argues that Egypt’s military should embrace a balanced civil-military relationship to realize broad, long-term benefits and avoid otherwise inevitable and costly clashes with segments of Egyptian society. As for the Muslim Brotherhood, Ashour recommends that it reevaluate its recent decisions and work to develop a sustained, solid, and cross-ideological civilian front that can pressure the military to leave politics and allow for democratization.

03-19-2015, 08:11 AM
It's quite easy to demand political liberalisation and similar from a safe office thousands of miles away.

But it's getting rather complex when one talks with Egyptians. The last I've hard from them, even the few former members of MB I used to know are satisfied with what Sissi is doing: while it was still in power, they began considering Morsi's government that of 'terror', have abandoned the MBs and supported the anti-Morsi coup.

(Indeed, some of them went to the streets during the coup and became activelly involved in fire-fights against armed MB gangs, often in support - even in protection - of local policemen and fire-brigades.)

So, who should now expect from them to demand from Sissi something like to 'embrace a balanced civil-military relationship to realize broad, long-term benefits and avoid otherwise inevitable and costly clashes with segments of Egyptian society'? There were such 'inevitable and costly clashes' already during Morsi's reign, they were continued during and after the coup, and ever since, and they were all provoked by the MBs.

While it's clear that the core problem with Egyptian state and society in general is that of military hegemony over the entire system, as far as I can say, majority of Egyptian population is supportive of anti-MB actions and measures. (Of course, I've got no representative pools to support this, but this is what I get to hear from Cairo, from various places along the Red Sea and even from the Sinai.)

Overall, while unlikely to appear 'civilized' to us, 'Sissi's actions' are 'perfectly OK' for all too many Egyptians who remain more concerned about a possible return of MBs to power, than 'loss of few personal freedoms'.

(On a funny side: one of most obvious 'changes' ever since anti-Morsi coup can be observed at various Egyptian music-TV-channels. It seems these are demonstratively anti-MB and are now showing more semi-naked singers there than ever before.)

07-17-2015, 11:21 PM
A noteworth commentary on the insurgency in the Sinai by Dr. Omar Ashour, of Exeter University & Brookings and near to the end makes a wider point:
Historically, military and security blunders in Sinai have caused major shifts in the balance of power within the ruling elite. This includes the rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser in the Suez Crisis over other rivals, the death of Abd al-Hakim Amer after the June 1967 debacle, and finally the removal of Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi and his deputy General Sami Anan in August 2012 after 16 soldiers were massacred in a Rafah border post.
The further deterioration in the security situation has caused rifts within the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Egypt's most powerful political entity at the moment. Whether these rifts will expand or shrink remains to be seen.
But as currently seen is Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere in other regions, military-based dictatorial regimes can be future civil war projects - even if, at some point, they succeed in wiping out opposition, as the Assad regime did in Hama in 1982.

SWJ Blog
09-08-2015, 01:42 PM
Status Quo in the Sinai (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/status-quo-in-the-sinai)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/status-quo-in-the-sinai) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

SWJ Blog
10-20-2015, 09:00 AM
Disrupting the MFO: ISIS in Sinai (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/disrupting-the-mfo-isis-in-sinai)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/disrupting-the-mfo-isis-in-sinai) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

11-09-2015, 10:09 PM
Dr Omar Ashour of Exeter University has a Foriegn Affairs article which is blistering in its portrayal of Egypt's campaign in the Sinai:https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/2015-11-08/sinais-stubborn-insurgency

Here are three choice passages:
To be sure, guerrilla warfare is not new to Egypt. What is new is the quality, which is comparable to regular Special Forces operations.

There are many reasons for the durability of the Sinai insurgency. Of particular importance are the military capacity and resources of the insurgents, the regime’s counterinsurgency blunders, and the changing political environment in which both operate. Other elements do matter, of course, including SP’s propaganda and perceived legitimacy, but they are secondary to the others.

Even as the insurgents have waged an unusually effective guerrilla war, the regime has waged an unusually ineffective counterinsurgency. Cairo’s counterinsurgency policy in Sinai was built on three pillars: repression, intelligence, and propaganda. Intensive, reactive, and mostly indiscriminate repression was the hallmark of the policy in the north.

There is a small main thread on Egypt's Sinai problem (with 21 posts and 8925 views) and the current thread on the Russian airliner crash (with 33 posts and 2254 views).

03-09-2016, 11:54 PM
Dr Omar Ashour of Exeter University, in a different venue, has an update on this 'small war':http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/sinai-s-tragedy-between-brutal-repression-and-armed-insurgency-1552693351

04-06-2016, 12:42 PM
Via FP's e-briefing:
There are about 700 U.S. troops currently serving as observers in the northern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula as part of a decades-old peace pact between Egypt and Israel. But they may soon pull out (http://link.foreignpolicy.com/click/6447804.106422/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5jbm4uY29tLzIwMTYvMDQvMDUvcG9saXRpY3 MvdXMtc2luYWktZGVwbG95bWVudC1lZ3lwdC1pc3JhZWwv/52543f88c16bcfa46f6e463fB8be36f09) of that base and move to another outpost further south. The move would come as a result of growing American concerns over the dangers presented by the Islamic State on the peninsula, though U.S. officials stress no final decision has been made.

Based on this report:http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/05/politics/us-sinai-deployment-egypt-israel/? (http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/05/politics/us-sinai-deployment-egypt-israel/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=*Situation%20Report)

A couple of weeks ago the UK announced a temporary deployment of engineers to help the MFO at a new base. That 'special relationship' again.

04-09-2016, 09:55 PM
Alerted via Twitter to a significant change IMHO; two strategic islands in the Straits of Tiran, subject of a territorial dispute between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are to become Saudi territory. The straits enable Israeli access to the Red Sea and their closure in 1967 contributed to the 'Six Day War'. As part of the Camp David Agreement the US MFO have an outpost there. See:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiran_Island

Twitter citing two Egyptian tweets:
Egyptian cabinet just confirmed giving Saudi Arabia the islands Tiran and Sanafir...After whichEgyptian Twitter, FB exploded. Trending hashtags accuse Sisi of selling territory for Gulf money.

An Israeli news site indicates this change is not a big surprise, but wonders what the implications are:http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4789308,00.html

Curiously a BBC report treats this as a commercial matter strengthening ties and a bridge that will link the two nations:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35999557

One wonders how Israel will react. Presumably they were aware of the possibility as the two regimes have got closer. Working out the details will be interesting: the MFO outpost is now on Saudi territory; freedom of navigation; the bridge and far more.

04-13-2016, 03:52 PM
WaPo reports on the all too-often secret relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia. It starts with:
The announcement that Egypt transferred two small Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabian sovereignty ..in Israel it quietly shed light on the Jewish state’s secret and selective dealings with Saudi Arabia.Citing Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon:
We reached an agreement between the four parties – the Saudis, the Egyptians, Israel and the United States – to transfer the responsibility for the islands on the condition the Saudis fill in the Egyptian shoes in the military appendix of the peace agreement,Link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/04/13/how-two-red-sea-islands-shed-light-on-secret-relations-between-israel-and-saudi-arabia/

04-30-2016, 06:30 PM
Dr Omar Ashour's latest article on the insurgency in Sinai includes the MFO and this "Oh sh*t" incident:
Earlier this month, two artillery shells landed in the gym of the MFO’s North Camp near El-Gora village at around 3am. Another mortar shell landed a few days later, destroyed a vehicle and injured a soldier. The US was able to work out the coordinates of the source of the shelling and it turned out to be the positions of the regular army. Apparently, it was "friendly fire" or a mistake.

01-17-2017, 10:43 AM
After a quick review I have merged several threads to create a catch all thread for historical matters Egypt / Egyptian up till the end of 2016. One of the threads was for Sinai. This thread had 85 posts an 52.9k views. There will be new thread for 2017 onwards.

It maybe useful to view previous threads of value are:

1) Arab armies and the 'Arab Spring' http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=17859 (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=17859)

2) Arab Spring Phase 3? http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=17692 (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=17692)

3) Egypt's Spring Revolution (now closed) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=12371 (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=12371)

4) The transformation of the Arab World (which looks at the wider impact and the impact on AQ) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16634 (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=16634)

04-04-2017, 11:10 AM
This Open Democracy article will be copied to the historical Egypt thread that contains a few posts on the two islands being transferred from Egypt occupation back to Saudi Arabia. That thread is:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=18454&page=5

It is raises some interesting points, notably the KSA-Israeli relationship. I had missed this news, with my emphasis:
As such, the expected transfer of the islands is revealing a number of regional dynamics. The most vivid example of which is the new perceived strategic role of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is expanding its role in the horn of Africa, especially with the recent conclusion of a deal (https://www.ft.com/content/c8f63492-dc14-11e6-9d7c-be108f1c1dce) with Djibouti to build a military base on its territory. The strategic location of the base, across the Yemeni shore, gives Saudi Arabia the ability to project its power over the Bab El Mandab strait. This serves to consolidate the position of Saudi Arabia as the reigning power over the Red Sea.Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/maged-mandour/changing-security-dynamic-of-red-sea?