Op-ed review: Sinai counter-terrorism operation

Amira El-Fekki
4 Min Read
Members of the Egyptian army stand guard outside the venue of a conference for defence ministers and officials of the 27 members of CEN-SAD in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on March 24, 2016. The two-day meeting in Egypt will explore military and counter terrorism cooperation. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Egyptian Armed Forces launched on Friday a massive counter-terrorism operation: Sinai 2018.

Al-Ahram’s editorial team wrote that the people have confidence in the miltary’s ability to defeat terrorism and supports its “just cause.”

Among most of the state daily’s writers’ support for the military operation, Morsi Attallah wrote that the action has and will continue to stir fear in those who “hate Egypt and talk about the non-effectiveness of military strikes there.”

As for Osama Ghazaly Harb, he wrote that it was a carefully planned operation, operating on a more comprehensive level through geography and cooperation between different military and police branches, arguing that it is now time that civil society thought about how to have a role to play in the war “which concerns us people and the military together.”

Chairperson of private newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm Mohamed Amin also insisted on this notion of unity between the military and Egyptian people, writing that the war against enemies in which the armed forces is involved in sends serious messages, as did the president before, to those who want to “mess” with the country’s affairs.

Those messages, according to Seliman Gouda in the same newspaper, are aimed at the Turkish president, “because he talked about sending members of the Islamic State [group] to Sinai, without mentioning by whom, which suggests it was intended and planned.”

In Al-Watan newspaper, Khaled Montasser wrote that besides the military and police efforts in tracing terrorism and attempting to cut its supplies of weapons, civil state institutions still have a role to play to cut extremist ideologies from curricula, books, and other governmental and religious platforms, which in his opinion are the reason “Islamists’ terrorism” continues to spread despite security controls, unlike other groups in Europe such as Baader Meinhoff in Germny or the Red Brigades in Italy, which according to the writer, did not find support through platforms for brainwashing worshippers or raising children on hatred.

Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of the privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, Emad El-din Hussein, dismissed possibilities linking the timing of the Sinai operation to raising credit for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ahead of the upcoming presidential election, arguing that on one hand, the current president is likely to sweep the election among virtual non-existent competition, while on the other hand, the threat of terrorism is real.

Lastly, the previous weeks witnessed a campaign where television presenters and opinion writers slammed, almost on a daily basis, calls for boycotting the election. Political scientist and professor at the American University in Cairo Ibrahim Awad picked up the topic again in Al-Shorouk’s Sunday issue, arguing that the crackdown on those who called for a boycott indicates that there is really a fear that their calls for boycott will work, which would question the legitimacy of the regime. He hoped for the end of harassment of opposition figures.

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Journalist in DNE's politics section, focusing on human rights, laws and legislations, press freedom, among other local political issues.
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