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.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Egyptian Defences

"What is happening shows the terrorist group's naive and decayed thinking as they thought that they could occupy a part of Egypt, no matter how armed they were."
"Yesterday, the Egyptian military was facing both a war on the ground and a media war. The foreign press and news agencies intentionally published these numbers to spread frustration among Egyptians, and some local media outlets reported their figures."
"There was no delay in announcing the casualty numbers, and if there was it only lasted for a few minutes. The head of the operation in the field usually does the count and issues a 'fight report' by the end of the day -- not while the operation is ongoing."
Brigadier-General Mohamed Samir
Smarting with indignation at the very thought of Egypt being held up to ridicule when its military was caught unawares and in disarray, as once again soldiers are sacrificed to the plans of terrorists with yet another successful display of planned carnage the military was unable to evade, fiction becomes fact.

Brig.-Gen. Samir maintains his position in speaking with the Egyptian media; 300 'terrorists' were involved in the attack on Egyptian security sites in North Sinai. The military did its job, pursuing and killing one hundred of their number, and the remainder escaped. The Egyptian military on Wednesday night had announced the confrontations had left four officers and 13 soldiers dead; in stark contrast to foreign news outlets some of which put the death toll of Egyptian military at 60 to 70.

The hallmarks of Islamic State modus operandi marked this operation; a simultaneous, ordered attack on a number of fronts meant to provoke confusion among the troops. The use of suicide bombers, car bombs, anti-tank missiles and ground troops, some camouflaged as Egyptian police officers and soldiers. The very fact that this well-organized and carried-out attack took place without Egyptian intelligence having any idea that something of this order and magnitude was in the works speaks to a failure in human intelligence-gathering.

Around 7:00 a.m., just as the changing of the guard was to take place after a pre-fast meal for Ramadan observation, car bombs went off with a chaotic melee following. Then followed the armed fighters attacking with anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, machine guns and lighter weapons. With some of the attackers dressed as police and soldiers, the confusion was understandable; it looked as though their own was attacking them. And it can be assumed that the heavy weapons were supplied by Hamas.

Because of the anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, the Egyptian air force deployed fighter jets. It's amply clear that Egypt is facing a tough war with the Islamists. And that despite the resolve of President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi's determination to wipe out any advances the Salafists have made supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, with Egyptian army and security forces directed to be unyielding in using all the power at their disposal to defeat the intentions of the terror group, Egypt is not yet within reach of succeeding in its war on terror.

Egyptian soldiers stand guard on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, on May 26, 2015. Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash 90)
Egyptian soldiers stand guard on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, on May 26, 2015. Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash 90)

The losses in security personnel aside, itself a heavy blow to Egypt which holds its fighting forces in high esteem, the events in northern Sinai signal that it is not about to go the way of the rest of the peninsula which has been partially tamed through agreements with tribal Bedouin leaders arrived at by bribery, by threats or any other method deemed workable. It is abundantly clear that the militant groups mean to exact heavy military losses from the Egyptian army in their bid to take full control of the Sinai.

The very fact that close to a hundred armed fighters were capable of staging such a simultaneous attack on a number of fronts speaks to a failure on the part of the Egyptian army and its intelligence gathering services in failing to provide a warning of impending attacks. One Egyptian source has it that 200 militants took part in the attack, using a significant cache of anti-aircraft weapons, requiring that F-16 fighter jets be called on to respond, rather than Apache helicopters.

And, according to that same informed source speaking anonymously, the weapons arrived in the Sinai through the Gaza Strip. Which leaves Egypt's latest softening of its offensive stance against Hamas in the lurch. With Hamas aiding its big brother the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda-linked groups transferring allegiance to Islamic State, further complications and challenges arise with the understanding that some of the Sinai Bedouin tribes and residents of northern Sinai are actively collaborating with the terrorists.

That being an established reality, there will be a response from the Egyptian military in retaliation. Though Islamic State and Muslim Brotherhood fighters relish their rivalry, they do have in common their hatred for the Egyptian government and in particular its former military chief, now popularly-supported President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.

Terror attack in Sinai
Alleged photo of Wednesday's attacks, photo credit: Arab Social Media
No prospect of an end in sight any time soon of violent hostilities between the various groups seeking to destabilize Egypt, and the government of Egypt, determined to defend itself from the jihadis for whom only a Sharia-led Egyptian society bearing little resemblance to the current one arises from the ashes of a destroyed al-Sissi administration. A blueprint aimed not only at Egypt, but at the greater Middle East, courtesy of the new caliphate.

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