Egypt may be headed toward civil war

Probably less than one in a thousand Americans are even aware that there is an ISIS affiliate in Egypt.
Even fewer know any of the details behind this insurgency because outside of one incident, the American news media has ignored it. Which is why it is interesting.

That one incident you will likely remember - Metrojet Flight 9268.
On 31 October 2015, all 224 died from a bomb planted on an Airbus on en route to Saint Petersburg, Russia. Previously ignored Ansar Bait al-Maqdis claimed responsibility.
After that the news media completely lost interest. Does that mean the attack was a one-off by some fringe group that "got lucky"?

Consider this attack in the summer of 2015.
That's an Egyptian naval frigate getting blown up by a missile. This is not the work of amateurs.

Another example is buried in this article about 32 Egyptian soldiers getting ambushed and killed in a single day, early in 2015.

The insurgency has not spread to the tourist hubs of south Sinai, but in pockets of north-east Sinai the army has been powerless to stop militants from frequently establishing their own checkpoints, through which the jihadis have kidnapped and assassinated policemen.

The Sinai insurgency is so popular and wide-spread that the Egyptian army has lost control over the region.

So why is there an insurgency in northern Sinai?
The answer to that question is revealed in a couple maps.
This is the area of ISIS activity in Sinai according to this web site.
Notice the proximity to the Gaza Strip.
This is a map of where the Egyptian government is destroying the homes of thousands of families.
Notice the overlap?

Egypt has demolished more than 3,255 homes and other buildings in the Sinai peninsula in violation of international law, Human Rights Watch says.
Troops began razing homes along the Gaza border in 2013 to create a "buffer zone" and eliminate smuggling tunnels, after a surge in attacks by militants.
But those evicted are given little or no warning, no temporary housing and inadequate compensation, HRW alleges.
The Egyptian government insisted that residents supported the demolitions.

Obviously the residents feel otherwise about their homes being destroyed.

More than 3,600 civilians, security personnel and militants have been killed in the ensuing violence - more than two-thirds of them since the government announced plans for the buffer zone in October 2014 - HRW cited media reports and official statements as saying.

Egypt's counterterrorism tactics in North Sinai amount to a scorched earth policy.

The insurgency started after the Egyptian government decided to massacre 817 unarmed protesters, Tiananmen Square-style, in 2013.
Since then the Egyptian government has launched repeated military offensives, with over 20,000 soldiers, against the insurgency without success.

More and more, the army is fighting the militants outside their stronghold in the north. In February and March it conducted raids on hideouts in the desert of central Sinai. This month, after several failed attempts, it says it took the insurgents’ base in Jebel Halal, a mountainous area. Israel warns that IS has put up roadblocks in central Sinai to capture soldiers and tourists.

Just two weeks ago a full-scale battle claimed the lives of 23 Egyptian soldiers.
It's hard to say exactly what is going on in Sinai because the Egyptian military does not allow journalists or any independent observers from entering.

The Egyptian government has an interest in maintaining its narrative of successfully fighting terror. Between 2011 and 2015, Cairo received $6.5bn in US military aid.
The Egyptian military has reported more than 6,000 deaths in northern Sinai since mid-2013. That figure greatly exceeds the number of militants in the area: estimated at no more than 1,000, according to the DC-based think-tank, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

However, the Egyptian government is losing its ability to maintain the silence on this insurgency because the fighting and bombings have leaked outside of Sinai and into the rest of Egypt. In April and May terrorists slaughtered Coptic Christians in northern Egypt. Cairo is seeing bombings on a monthly basis.
In response the Egyptian military government has responded in the only way it knows how - an iron fist.

In response to the attacks, the Egyptian government, led by President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, declared a new and more sweeping state of emergency that further increases the scope of police detentions, suspends many constitutional rights, and further limits the right to assembly....
Just as Wilayat Sinai is taking its fight across the canal to the mainland, the Egyptian government is increasingly utilizing the counterinsurgent tactics that were once reserved for the Sinai in mainland Egypt.11 Far from effectively combating insurgent groups like Wilayat Sinai, the sort of scorched earth tactics used in the Sinai risks not only aiding Wilayat Sinai, but more worryingly for the security of Egypt, these tactics are creating new operational spaces for a range of emergent insurgent organizations. Some of these emergent groups, like the Hasm Movement,c are far more moderate than the Islamic State and more capable of tapping into growing discontent among the Egyptian population. While formidable, Wilayat Sinai’s extreme views will limit its appeal and ability to put down deep roots in mainland Egypt. This may not be the case for emergent groups who have moderate views and a more discriminate approach to the use of violence. However, these groups will be able to learn from Wilayat Sinai’s experience with fighting the Egyptian army and police forces in the Sinai. The war in the Sinai has clearly demonstrated the very real limitations and vulnerabilities of the Egyptian army and police forces.

As long as the Egyptian government relies on collective punishment, arbitrary and mass arrests of villagers, indefinite detention, and extrajudicial execution of detainees, this insurgency will only get worse.

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ggersh's picture

The insurgency started after the Egyptian government decided to massacre 817 unarmed protesters, Tiananmen Square-style, in 2013.
Since then the Egyptian government has launched repeated military offensives, with over 20,000 soldiers, against the insurgency without success.

Why would ISIS kill Christians to further Egypt's military response?

Doesn't this smell like the neocon notebook for war at work?....BWTFDIK

10 users have voted.

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy”

Chris Hedges

Steven D's picture

The AUMF, the gift that keeps on giving us terrorists.

9 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Instead after a few false starts it went back to status quo as far as I can see. Status quo may be an endangered species along with the human race.

7 users have voted.



5 users have voted.


I don't think ISIS will attack Israel just yet. Then they have to fight both them and Egyptian army.
But if they gain control of the area and get upper hand, I can see them doing it. And if the Egyptian army collapses, who is going to fight for or along side them. In Syria, the SAA now has Russians, Hezbollah, and Iranian troops fighting ISIS.

5 users have voted.
Meteor Man's picture

Mission Accomplished!

4 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

snoopydawg's picture

8 users have voted.

Sessions would have taken Jesus away from his homeless refugee parents

Amanda Matthews's picture


U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings

WASHINGTON — Even as the United States poured billions of dollars into foreign military programs and anti-terrorism campaigns, a small core of American government-financed organizations were promoting democracy in authoritarian Arab states.

The money spent on these programs was minute compared with efforts led by the Pentagon. But as American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring, they are seeing that the United States’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections.

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington, according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

The work of these groups often provoked tensions between the United States and many Middle Eastern leaders, who frequently complained that their leadership was being undermined, according to the cables.

3 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

Meteor Man's picture

@snoopydawg Someday soon I'm gonna find a nine or ten year old to show me how to do that. Still figuring out my smart phone. Do they have a Smart Phone For Dummies book?

3 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

The Aspie Corner's picture

Dipshit Trump has business associates in Indonesia working with ISIS affiliates to overthrow the government there.

7 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

to determine who the terrorists are.
Is it the rock throwing cave dwellers?
Or the advanced cruise "beautiful thing" missile lobbing, democracy bringing, freedom supporting, peace loving powers that be?

6 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

for the update.

No wonder Egypt (Saudi etc) wants Al Jazeera to shut down. Loss of the press insures a free rein.

6 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

the Egyptian military. For years, the Egyptian military backed corrupt front man Mubarak, until it didn't. (Maybe a revolution was brewing?) The military then setup an interim government until an election could be held. )If you recall, during the Egyptian portion of the Arab Spring, we were treated to US general, active or retired, popping up on various talking head TV shows to commend the Egyptian military to commend their conducts, pointing out that many of them are trained in the US, including at West Point, and saying that the US military stayed in close communication with them. IOW, in commending the Egyptian military, the US generals were commending themselves, but also, IMO, incriminating the US.)

In their first free election in ever, Egyptians then elected Morsi, whom the Egyptian military quickly ousted. (Notice how wiki smears Morsi's government as a Muslim Brotherhood government.)

The position was created after Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Mohammed Naguib was the first president. Prior to 2005, the Parliament chooses a candidate for the Presidency and the people vote whether or not they approve that candidate for President in a referendum. In 2005, the first presidential elections held with multiple candidates stand for the positions, however the elections was deemed neither fair nor free. After the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, a new presidential elections held in 2012, it was the first free and fair elections in Egyptian history.[citation needed] After a wave of public discontent with autocratic excesses of the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi,[2] on 3 July 2013 General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced the removal of Morsi from office. El-Sisi then was himself elected head of state in the 2014 presidential election.[3]

Egypt adopted the semi-presidential system in 2012 and under it the President doesn't hold extensive powers. The President can dissolve the Parliament, declare state of emergency and declare wars but the Parliament must approve any law first. The Parliament can impeach the President after two-thirds votes in favour for impeachment and then a public referendum is held to whether or not approve the impeachment of the President.

Hey! Have you heard Russia interfered in our election by making accurate information about one of the candidates available? If so, all this American can say about Russia is, "Frucking amateurs."

4 users have voted.
Ken in MN's picture

As long as the Egyptian government relies on collective punishment, arbitrary and mass arrests of villagers, indefinite detention, and extrajudicial execution of detainees, this insurgency will only get worse.

...profits for American death merchants will soar! #MAGA

2 users have voted.

I want my two dollars!