This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Egypt At War With Islamism

"[A] rebellion [is required in response to the killings] a turning point that will have its own repercussions."
"It will not be possible to control the anger of the oppressed."
Muslim Brotherhood call to arms
Conflict in Sinai Peninsula Escalates

The bloodiest fighting in the Sinai Peninsula in decades appears to be coming to a close for the time being, as the Egyptian military is claiming to have subdued the Islamic State forces that launched a surprise multi-pronged attack in the northern Sinai last week, leading to the deaths of almost one hundred Egyptian soldiers, horrifying the public of Egypt which holds its military in high esteem. The military claims that it has returned to the Islamists a punishment that has destroyed hundreds.

The escalation of violence appears to have been linked to the second anniversary of the removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. While he was president, that year saw a diminution of violent attacks against Egyptian police stations and the military in the Sinai. With his removal, a stepped-up number of assaults by various Islamist groups from Salafist Bedouin to al-Qaeda-linked militias occurred.

None as lethal as this latest attack. Although the Brotherhood denies having had any involvement in the attacks, the crackdown they have faced leading to thousands of arrests, mass convictions and death sentences including that of Morsi himself has obviously invited a response. Last Monday's assassination of Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat signalled an upsurge of violence by Morsi's defenders.

Security officials in Sinai have stated that dawn-raid airstrikes succeeded in killing several dozen Islamists south of Rafah, near the Gaza Strip. The army was charged with searching for extremists going house to house in the town of Sheikh Zuweid where the Islamists had attacked a string of army checkpoints days previously.

Roads leading in and around the area were being demined where the militants had booby-trapped the highways with mines and improvsed explosive devices. From the Gaza Strip, explosions could be heard as airstrikes went on and warplanes soared overhead. The co-ordinated assault led by scores of Islamists had focused on Sheikh Zuweid that included suicide bombings alongside an attack on the town's main police station.

The station shelled with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades resulted in a prolonged firefight taking most of the day, with Egyptian police trapped inside. Over 100 Islamists were claimed to have been killed, along with 17 troops, a number that has been challenged by a several senior security officials representing branches of Egyptian forces in Sinai who claim gtreater numbers of military deaths.

The exhortation by the Brotherhood to its supporters to begin a rebellion heralds the potential for a focus on violence where before the Brotherhood has restrained itself to urging peaceful demonstrations. Egypt is far from being a country whom the past few years has brought any modicum of stability to as it struggles with the enemy within.

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