Sinai Attacks: Killing the Beast
“We are not in the aftermath of the so called Arab Spring, Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries are deeply engulfed in a real war”
Dr. Ashraf Ezzat – Egypt.
The scale and ferocity of the recent militant attacks against the Egyptian army in North Sinai, swiftly following the (successful) assassination of Egypt’s general prosecutor, are underscoring an obvious fact; Egypt still has a long way to go in its war against terrorism.
Another growing discourse amongst Egyptian intellectuals doubts the heavy handed security could be the only solution to the current escalation of violence and terrorism. Islamist terrorism will continue to thrive if the ideology behind it is not checked and corrected, the argument goes.
It’s not only Egypt that faces this threat, but the whole Middle Eastern countries; the Arabic ones that is. But All Arabs, not only Egyptians, could survive the chaos and devastation that ensued in the aftermath of the so called Arab Spring. But they could not and will not allow this devastation and destruction to engulf the heart of the Arab world, Egypt.
This implicit consensus is why Egypt (headed by el Sisi) is being fully backed by most of the Arab countries especially the Arab Gulf countries (except the Zionist emirate of Qatar with its [Al Jazeera news channel] that has long been battering Egypt with its disgraceful and unprofessional hype)
On Wednesday July 1st, Islamist militants unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks against Egyptian army checkpoints in El-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, the last three small towns before we hit the border with Gaza and Israel (I worked there as a medical doctor for almost three years back in 1997). The coordinated assaults set off the fiercest clashes in decades in Northern Sinai.
When it comes to reporting the death toll and the number of the wounded, the reports of the main stream media were conflicting and varied considerably. Whereas most of the reports talked about a range from 60 – 100 killed and more than 120 wounded, the official report of the Egyptian army only mentioned 17 military personnel killed (4 of them officers) and 30 wounded.
Interestingly, Aljazeera Arabic News channel was the only mainstream media platform that had exclusively reported the attacks (LIVE) as the fighting and the bombing were taking place.
The reporter with the camera crew stood few meters away from the border with Rafah (Eastern Rafah is in the Gaza territory) and broke the news of the deadly attacks as the black thick plumes of smoke were still gathering on the horizon. In Egypt, we knew about the attacks 45 minutes after the start of the bombings.
Obviously Al Jazeera had been tipped off (by some clandestine operatives in Gaza) hours before the attacks occurred. Egyptian security authorities have frequently accused Hamas of harboring Islamist militants and MB fugitives implicated in funding and training the insurgents.
On its official facebook page (Egyptians are very active on social media since the 2011 revolution) the Egyptian Military spokesman stated that around one hundred Islamist militants have been killed in the counter offensive (this video presenting animated brief account of the attacks has been released by the Egyptian Army)
Regardless of the conflicting numbers and the different narratives; the recent militant attacks have undeniably revealed new worrying signals. First and foremost is the likely involvement of the native Bedouins of Sinai in the deadly attacks.
Obviously the way this wave of insurgency has been dragging with no signs of abating since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, back in 2013 is begging two vital questions.
Is this wave of terrorism against Egyptians has anything to do with the Muslim Brotherhood? Second, is the Islamist insurgency in the Northen Sinai being facilitated/coordinated by the native Bedouins?
My personal sources in Sinai have repeatedly affirmed the involvement of a new and young generation of (recently radicalized) Sinai Bedouins in the attacks against Egypt army. In late 1999 before I left Sheikh Zuweid, I was amazed by the growing tide of Salafism (radical Islam) amongst the native paramedics and staff nurses of North Sinai.
The whole operation Sinai as dubbed by Egypt military has somehow turned (due to uncalculated risk of collateral damage) to a war of vengeance between some of Sinai tribes (mainly based in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah) and the Military. This has long been seen coming and feared as the worst case scenario by some Egyptian analysts and commentators. If you ever wondered why most of the deadly operations take place in and around Sheikh Zuweid, that’s because the tribes over there are offering logistical and Intelligence help to the Islamist militants.
One more thing, Sheikh Zwueid is now the closest place to Gaza and Israel, not to mention that the whole town is connected to Gaza via a web of- yet undiscovered – deep and twisted tunnels (wide and deep enough to allow land Rovers carrying anti-craft missiles through)
Sinai and its small Bedouin community have long been bedeviled and neglected, for many centuries before Mubarak, by successive Egyptian governments. Many analysts argue that the long economical and developmental marginalization have helped morph Sinai into the hotbed for terrorism and militancy it is today.
Another analysis accuse the short period of MB rule for turning Sinai into another Afghanistan. One of the first things Morsi of the MB did as a president in office was to invite all the Al Qaeda’s militants (especially those of Arabic and Egyptian origin) to depart Kandahar (and other Taliban strongholds) and head straight to Sinai.
A previous contact and agreement with Ayman El- Zawahri (head of al Qaeda) had paved the way for this mass exodus of Islamist militants and their heavy weaponry into Sinai. This, according to the MB tactics, served as the military wing (a parallel army) that was bound to be needed if the tide turned against the MB and their new policy in Egypt.
In the past two years the responsibility for most of the Sinai attacks against the Egyptian army have been claimed by an Islamist militant group called (Ansar Bait El Maqdis). On 10 November 2014, the group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and changed its operational name to Wilayat Sinai (State of Sinai). An offshoot of the group which also operated in Gaza has renamed itself into the Islamic state of Gaza.
Sinai attacks and the Muslim Brotherhood
Back to our first question about the link, if any, between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the terrorist insurgency in Sinai and all over Egypt. The official statements issued (in English) by the MB deny any responsibility or link of the kind and also denounce the undergoing violence and terrorism. On the other hand the Arabic statements of the top MB leaders (from behind bars) strongly assure the insurgency in Sinai and the terrorist operations all over Egypt would instantly stop was Morsi reinstated as president.
Obviously the MB is practicing a sort of bilingual hypocrisy; the trick of the wolf in sheep’s clothing is still working especially in the west. According to MB sharia law, this trick is not shunned as immoral but rather permitted as taqiya (religious deception), especially when dealing with western infidels.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian government headed by President El Sisi never bought that MB claim, not for a second. The majority of the Egyptians wholeheartedly, except for the sheep [popular Egyptian designation of MB supporters], endorse their government in pointing the finger at the MB and its international partners, financiers and supporters as the main suspects behind the ongoing unrest and terrorism. Besides many of the suspects, captured during terrorist attacks, have confessed they received funds and instructions from MB heads.
Also experts in Islamist radicalism and militancy know damn well that the literature of the MB is the root (ideological motivation) for all Islamist militancy. Based on the infamous rule of Takfir (accusation of apostasy and blasphemy) the MB theorists denounce any regime (Muslim or not) that dares operate under the rule of any law other than the strict Islamic Sharia (distorted by MB wolves)
In short MB jurisprudence have zero tolerance for ideas such as nationalism, patriotism, rule of law, democracy, women’s rights and equality, secularism and freedom of speech (even if they fooled a big chunk of the West, by means of Taqiya, into believing otherwise)
The Sinai insurgency, according to Egyptian security, has been financed and coordinated from abroad. Actually it is not a far-fetched hypothesis, considering the similar ongoing scenarios in Libya, Syria and Iraq. The so called Arab Spring has turned into a relentless redrawing of the Middle Eastern map by unleashing the beasts Arabs dreaded most; radicalism, sectarianism and Islamist militancy.
But Egyptian military experts don’t shy away from pinpointing Israel’s Mosaad as the main party to have really benefitted from (and maybe helped shaped) the current chaos and violence. Even if one or two stray rockets landed on some Israeli territory (to add to the Israeli diplomatic camouflage)
While mainstream media is talking about a recent Egyptian-Israeli co-operation in combating militancy in Sinai, the Egyptian military experts have not lost their old (patriotic) compass that always identified Israel as the perpetual enemy and threat. Let’s make no mistake about that.
The new Sinai army of Mujahideen/militants before pledging allegiance to IS had long been funded and established by Mr. Khairat el Shater, deputy head of MB clandestine organization.
Regiment 95 was the elite (Special Forces) unit responsible for tactics and special operations (MB terrorism and assassinations) that took orders and answered only to el Shater. It is said that till now el Shater, from his detention awaiting execution along with Morsi and first line MB leaders, is still giving operation orders for the infamous regiment.
Comprising the cadre of this elite regiment are 18 topnotch highly trained militants and suicide bombers. Amongst them Shadi el Menei, a native militant of North Sinai (as we pointed before) also on the list is an Egyptian militant returning from Afghanistan, Ramzy Mowafi (The personal medical doctor of Osama Bin Laden)
The Egyptian ministry of interior has declared 16 of them eliminated and captured. Surprisingly the two left are sacked (discharged for being radicalized) military officers; Hesham Ashmaoui, and Emad el Deen Ahmed.
According to leaked information, El Ashmaoui is the master mind behind most of the Sinai attacks and the major terrorist operations in Cairo and Delta (including the failed assassination attempt on the former ministry of interior back in September 2013). He is also said to have planned the assassination of Egypt’s general prosecutor, Hesham Barakat on 29 June.
Before the end of the bloody Wednesday, Egyptian special police forces stormed into an apartment in western Cairo, 6th of October city. According to the prior investigations and surveillance, there were nine MB operatives, two of them were already sentenced to death and the others are wanted for planning and funding multiple explosions and terrorist operation inside Egypt. The nine MB wanted men instantly opened fire and the Special Forces officers had to respond. The Nine MB men were killed in the apartment (Al Jazeera called the bust and the cross fire, despite the confiscated incriminating evidences and automatic gun machines, a murder in cold blood)
There is now a publication ban on the recent attack and assassination of the late Mr. Hesham Barakat, Egypt’s general prosecutor. Barakat was in charge and responsible for the legal indictment of all the top figures of the MB leadership cadre. Barakat had survived a couple of assassination attempts before he was finally killed by bombing his car convoy on his way to office last Monday. Many clues are suggesting yet another implication of el Ashmaoui in the successful assassination.
Being an old commando officer with a vast experience in Special Forces’ tactics and training, Hesham el Ashmaoui acted as the head of training and planning for the Wilayat Sinai. His record revealed he had also been to Syria in 2013 and communicated with el Baghdadi’s deputy heads (Egyptians by the way)
One of the interesting findings after the last series of attacks on Egyptian Military checkpoints in Northern Sinai is the communication method. The Islamist militants, including some of the local Bedouins, are using Israeli mobile network for their communication. In other words, the militants ‘phone calls, tweets and text messages are carried, and of course monitored by Israeli authorities.
And if we bear in mind that the whole operational theatre of Sinai is closely monitored by the Israeli military spy satellite, not to mention the distant audio surveillance, we could come to realize another glaring finding.
If there was the kind of Israeli-Egyptian military and intelligence cooperation the mainstream and alternative media are raving about, the recent Sinai attack could have easily been anticipated and even foiled.
But Israel kept a low profile, despite the IDF abundant surveillance and Intel, until the deadly attacks had achieved the target (exhausting and destabilizing Egypt and its military) and only now is Tel Aviv going to great lengths to link Hamas (and many of the Islamist cells in Gaza) to the recent Sinai attacks.
The truth of the matter is that Israel was and will remain Egypt’s perpetual enemy. The chaos and terrorism that are sweeping across the Arab world are the making of Tel Aviv and Zionist friends in the White House and in the Euro Zone. We are not in the aftermath of the so called Arab Spring, Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries are deeply engulfed in a real war.
It might be a new generation of war (Asymmetric Warfare) but it is one of the fiercest battles. For the long-term goal of this ongoing war is the reshuffling /remapping of the whole Middle-Eastern geopolitics so as to give new room for the old project of a greater Israel (bordered by a new and friendly Kurdish state)
The recent Sinai attacks won’t be the last, more and even deadlier attacks will take place not only in Sinai, but in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Libya. The US and Israel won’t dare finish off the so called Islamic State, for those Islamist savages have given them what they have long been searching for; wreaking havoc around Israel’s strategic territories without the risk of Israeli or American boots on the grounds.
Why mess with that efficient and lucrative new generation of warfare, it is even more efficient than drones. It seems that whoever unleashed the beast is not interested in recapturing it again, therefore if Egypt and the Arabs are to survive this mayhem they have to kill the beast themselves. There is no other way out in sight.
Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
Ashraf Ezzat, an Egyptian born in Cairo and based in Alexandria. He is graduated from the faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University. Keen not to be entirely consumed by the medical profession, Dr. Ezzat invests a lot of his time in research and writing. History of the ancient Near East and of Ancient Egypt has long been an area of special interest to him.
In his writings, he approaches ancient history not as some tales from the remote times but as a causative factor in our existing life, and to him it's as relevant and vibrant as the current moment. In his research and writings, Dr. Ezzat is always on a quest trying to find out why the ancient wisdom had been obstructed and ancient spirituality diminished whereas the Judeo-Christian teachings and faith took hold and prospered.
Dr. Ezzat has written extensively in Arabic tackling many issues and topics in the field of Egyptology and comparative religion but "Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites" is his first books in English.
He writes regularly at many well-known online websites such as; Veterans Today, Dissident Voice and what really happened.
Dr. Ezzat is also an independent filmmaker. His debut film was back in 2011 "the annals of Egypt Revolution" and in 2012 he made "Tale of Osiris" a short animation for children. In 2013 his short "The Pyramids: story of creation" was screened at many international film festivals in Europe. And he is working now on his first documentary "Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites".