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Review: More analysis about Sinai in Egypt’s opinion pages

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After Egypt was struck by grief, mourning the 16 killed Egyptian soldiers in Rafah, columnists in almost all Egyptian newspapers have offered more analysis of the probable perpetuators of the attack raising questions on parties that helped this incident to succeed.

Tamer Wagih

Who killed the Egyptian soldiers in Sinai?

Tamer Wagih

Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper

In his column, Tamer Wagih considers the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers at the Rafah border crossing highlighting the comments of the revolutionary activists in the aftermath of the attacks. Some have been pointing to Israel, and claim it is the only beneficiary from the incident. Others insinuate that Hamas members are the perpetuators and that the situation demands a more intensive patrolling of the borders.  As to his own view, Wagih thinks that the attackers targeted a specialised operation from inside Israel. He describes this as an important missing observation in the story, adding that this is not the first time Islamist Jihadists have carried out attacks in the Peninsula. The writer cites two previous terrorist assaults in Sharm Al-Sheikh and Taba.

The different part this time was how ‘easy’ it was for Jihadists to spill the blood of Egyptian soldiers and officers without mutual encounter. Attacking the forces during Ramadan breakfast time signifies a deeply rooted antagonism with Egyptian military. Analysing the entire situation, Wagih believes that a partial manifestation of the attacks is a clear break down in the Arab-Israeli conflict, signalling the failure Zionist and Imperialist ambitions in the Middle East.


Mohamed Salmawi

Is it a new treasure?

Mohamed Salmawi

Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper

Is it rational that Israel would warn against the recent terrorist attack in Sinai, whith Egyptians missing the warning? Israel has taken all necessary cautious and preventive measures by calling out all its tourists out from Sinai resorts. But now after the attack has taken place, Salmawi condemns those who insist on taking measures against the incident after it has occurred. The writer places emphasis on the importance of setting to account those who allowed this operation to occur. It is of utmost importance that the Egyptian authorities identify those culpable, otherwise the political discourse of corruption and lack of transparency is restored once more.

Slamawi then criticises the closure of all tunnels leading to Gaza. He also condemns the recent statements of the Muslim Brotherhood in reaction to the incident, describing them as ‘nearly similar’ to those heard during the rule of Mubarak and Sadat. In his estimation, the Muslim Brotherhood’s reaction aims at nothing but an escalation of the conflict between Egypt and Palestine to eventually carry on with its policies and serve the Israeli conflict. Ending his column, Salmawi assumes that Egypt is the next strategic treasure towards which the Israelis have set their gaze.


Emad Al-Din Hussein

It is not important who triggered the bullet?

Emad Al-Din Hussein

Al-Shorouk newspaper

Destroying the Egyptian military armed vehicle has burned all evidence that reveals the complete story behind the killing of 16 soldiers in Rafah crossing border. Emad Al-Din Hussein wonders if Israel’s Mossad has orchestrated the terrorist attack. He argues that an enemy is not so ‘naïve’ as to directly send its troops to kill Egyptian forces. Attackers could merely be Egyptians from the Sinai, Upper Egypt or the Delta. They could even be Afghans or Arabs. Doubt is replacing robust political analysts as Egypt’s security vacuum abounds.

The writer then argues that even if Islamist Jihadists carried out the operation in the belief that they are serving Islam, Hussein stresses that the extremist group is unaware that they are instead working in the interests of Israel. In an atmosphere of hidden tunnels and a security gap in Sinai, the peninsula has become a target for terrorist groups and arms dealers. Finally, Hussein calls for a firm national deterrent in Sinai to protect Egyptian sovereignty. The questions on the scene now ask how far Egypt will be ready to draft a muscular strategy and if authorities are really able to implement it.


Wael Abdel Fatah

Don’t search for the devils in Sinai

Wael Abdel-Fatah

Al-Tahrir newspaper

If Egyptians are trying to find devils that conducted the terrorist attacks in Sinai, the questions raised by the incident will never be deciphered and will remain hidden in a winding maze. In his column, Wael Abdel-Fatah stresses the point that analysis of the incident must differentiate those who perpetrated the assault from those who allowed it to succeed. If analysts continue in blending together the two, doubts will remain resulting in accusations against the people of the Sinai or the Palestinians, who have always been indicted because of their claims for the Peninsula. In situations such as these, logic must hold sway over doubt.

In Abdel-Fatah’s view, the attack aimed at humiliating the Egyptian army and proving its paralysis towards safeguarding the borders. The incident might also be testing whether a quick reaction will follow on the part of the country’s political forces towards Sinai and its value to Egypt. The writer argues that plan of the attack must have been filtered through the Israeli and US investigative authorities after brainwashing their agents. Concluding his piece, Abdel-Fatah condemns Mubarak’s policies which created greater separation between the Sinai and the rest of the country in lieu of moving forward with developmental projects that serve Sinai’s residents and their demands.


Farida Al-Shubashi

An Israeli Invitation

Farida Al-Shubashi

Al-Watan Newspaper

Following the tragic murder of Egyptian border guards, Farida Al-Shubashi shows cause for alarm not only with regard to the future of Sinai, but also that of Egypt in its entirety. On the internal Egyptian level, Al-Shubashi criticises the negative evolution of religious terminology which led to its current association with terrorism and acts of violence. While the belligerents of the Sinai attacks are identified as being ‘jihadist’, the hero of the Suez killing incident is a ‘sheikh’ and those who hurl the most blatant insults at their ideological opponents  became known as either ‘preachers’ or ‘religious extremists’. The greatest danger Egypt has to deal with is the existence of significant sectors within the country that are determined to put an apologetic sugar coating over barbaric acts. This was evident when, according to Al-Shubashi, some renowned intellectuals defended the mass expulsion of Copts from the village of Dahshur.

In light of the recent Israeli official invitation to Egypt to ‘wake up’ following the tragedy, Al-Shubashi slams Anwar Al-Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel. She dates back the start of all insurgency acts in Sinai to the commencement of peace with Israel, and calls upon the political leadership of the country to fortify Sinai against any foreign threats through development and urbanisation. The central issue is to not only to rid Sinai from insurgents, but also to purify their like-minded mentalities within the rest of Egypt. Only then can Egyptian rest confident that Israel will not be in any position to send invitations.


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