July 17, 2013

Attacks Against Egyptian Military In Sinai Grows In Wake of "Coup" (5 Articles)

An Egyptian take on the coup/revolution/non-coup/mixed coup-revolution/complicated political event in a complex and faraway land/take your pick:
"A military coup, by definition, is when a group of military officers take power by force. What happened in Egypt is exactly the opposite. Nearly 22 million Egyptians signed the Tamarod Campaign, and 30 million took to the streets to oust Morsi. Egypt was on the brink of a civil war, so the army intervened to save the state and sided with the people. How is that a military coup?" - Alaa al-Aswany, "Egyptians Confront DivisionsOver Morsi Ouster," Al Monitor, July 16. Alaa al-Aswany "is an Egyptian writer, and a founding member of the political movement Kefaya," (Wikipedia).
Whatever you want to call it, coup or not a coup, it was clearly a popular move. People responded with fireworks and celebration. It was controversial, certainly, but so was Morsi's presidency. According to this article called "Why Egypt’s army overthrew Morsi," Morsi's brand of divisive politics was becoming a threat to the security of the country and state. His support for the terrorists in Syria was also a cause for concern in the army. An excerpt from the article:
The army was also dismayed by the support of Cairo to the idea of Islamic jihad against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. This position, announced with great fanfare by Morsi 15 June, was dictated by the needs of rapprochement with Egyptian Salafists to counter the growing pressure from internal opposition. It went up to encouraging Egyptians to join the armed rebellion against Damascus. The army considered it a thoughtless and reckless policy that will have a very negative impact on the security of Egypt after the return of Egyptian jihadists to the country, as was the case with the "Egyptian Afghans" who fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and fed after their return to Egypt a wave of terrorist attacks in the 1990s.
II. Attacks Against Egyptian Military In Sinai Grows In Wake of "Coup"

1. An excerpt from, "Militants fire on army post in Egypt’s Sinai near Gaza, wounding 6 soldiers and a civilian," The Washington Post, July 16:
Egyptian intelligence officials say a civilian and six soldiers were wounded in an attack on a military outpost in the Sinai Peninsula near Egypt’s border with the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip.

Officials say unidentified militants attacked the barracks late Tuesday with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. A stray bullet wounded a 50 year-old woman in the Egyptian city of Rafah.
2. An excerpt from, "Egyptian army camp attacked with rockets in Sinai," Reuters, July 16:
Hardline Islamist groups based in North Sinai, a lawless region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip, have intensified attacks on police and soldiers over the past two years, exploiting a security vacuum following the 2011 uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The violence has spiked again since the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi this month. Militants have attacked security checkpoints and other targets on an almost daily basis, killing at least 13 people.
3. An excerpt from, "In order to stabilize Egypt, Salafists must stop shooting and start talking," by Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz, July 14:
Who attempted to assassinate Ahmed Wasfy, the commander of Egypt's third army, near Sheikh Zuweid on Wednesday? Was it a group of Salafist terrorists, who were quick to announce their intention to carry out more strikes? Or was it actually Muslim Brotherhood loyalists, enacting feelings in Egypt toward the army, which ousted Mohammed Morsi from the presidential palace?

According to the opposition parties, there's no doubt that political events in Cairo are creating a violent battlefield in the Sinai Peninsula, and that only the Muslim Brotherhood is to blame for the tailspin that is liable to bring Egypt to civil war.
Now that the Muslim Brotherhood has once again become an enemy of the state, the Salafist movements could be an alternative source of religious legitimacy.

Their political strength cannot be ignored, as they garnered 22% of the vote in the parliamentary elections.  
4. An excerpt from, "Israel approves more Egyptian troops in Sinai," LA Times, July 16:
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon confirmed that Egypt had requested authorization to deploy troops in the area. Israel is willing to let Egypt fight challenges from radical Islamists in Sinai so long as they "direct these forces at fighting terror ... and do not violate the peace agreement," Yaalon said Tuesday.

Signed in 1979, the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty came with security annexes designating Sinai as a demilitarized zone, prohibiting military forces and largely restricting Egyptian security presence to lightly armed police forces.

Despite the clear stipulations of the peace treaty, Israel has periodically approved requests for Egyptian military troops in Sinai, starting in early 2011 when it first agreed to Egyptian army boots on the ground.
5. An excerpt from, "Egypt: Dangerous Escalation of Terrorist Operations in Sinai," All Africa, July 16:
In a dangerous escalation of terrorist attack in Sinai, three persons were killed and 16 others were wounded in the blast of a bus that was carrying cement plant workers in Sinai early yesterday.

Another citizen was killed and two more were wounded in attack on Al Qasssimeya police station in Central Sinai.

The third field army announced the state of emergency to confront terrorist acts and to tighten the noose on terrorist groups in Sinai.
Increasing Militancy in the Sinai Peninsula. Source: STRATFORvideo. Date Published: July 11, 2013. Description: 
Stratfor Middle East Analyst Ashley Lindsey examines the worsening security situation in the Sinai Peninsula and its implications for Cairo and Israel.