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.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Byzantine Realities

"They [Wilayet Sinai, ISIL affiliate] have genius strategists. If you study the map of their attacks, they obviously know what they are doing exactly, and it shows that they have a great deal of freedom of mobility."
Mohannad Sabry, Egyptian journalist

"Like anywhere, they could be considered a potential target [UN-mission-member troops]."
"ISIS is just out there."
"When will we [Israel] become the target [of ISIL]?"
Lt. Col. Yaron Malka, deputy commander, Israel Saqi Brigade, Sinai border

"The national security forces redeployed along the borders with Egypt, and it is part of the security plan to fully control the borders and the stability of it, as well as the security of our Egyptian brothers."
Eyad al-Gozom, Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman
Sinai border
Israel ups security level along Egypt's Sinai border. (photo credit:screenshot)
Egypt has been hard hit by Islamist terrorists in the Sinai, particularly of late. Since, as example, the emergency of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, whose barbarian exploits have attracted the attention and admiration of other, less threateningly controversial Islamist groups, like the Salafist Bedouin tribes whose home the Sinai is, and like al-Qaeda groups that established themselves in the Sinai, all of whom have targeted Egyptian police and military installations.

With the entry of ISIL into the lethal presence of other Islamist jihadis, the threats and the attacks have intensified, leaving the government of Egypt in an ongoing emergency situation to cope with their violent presence. Egypt's economy has been in a downward spiral, and standby adjuncts such as  tourism have suffered their own setbacks each time any of these jihadist groups attack foreign tourists who arrive to savour their presence at the sites of world renowned archaelogical symbols of antiquity.

When the ISIL affiliate, Wilayat Sinai succeeded in bombing a Russian charter flight last October killing all 224 people aboard, it was a celebrated victory for ISIL, a provocation to the Kremlin and a blow to Egypt's reputation as a relatively safe tourist destination. Since then the Islamist group has focused on mounting a stream of attacks on Egyptian soldiers, targeting them with roadside bombs and overrunning military posts.

Egypt has reluctantly transitioned from its earned distrust of Hamas which has led it to flood the smuggling tunnels from the Sinai into adjacent Gaza, to a point where in its desperation to deal with all the terrorist groups, it is negotiating with Hamas to help monitor the border against Islamic State militias and the Bedouin tribes in a turnabout from accusations that Hamas has been involved in attack conspiracies with them.

The Israeli outpost defending the Israeli border with the Sinai Peninsula is close enough so that the soldiers of the IDF not only can see the UN peacekeeping observers and their forces but with a pair of field binoculars the Israeli military can view fighting taking place between the terrorists and the Egyptian army. Both Israeli and Egyptian authorities believe that Hamas permits Sinai militants to enter Gaza through its smuggling tunnels and to make use of Gaza as a haven.

Israel accuses  Hamas of smuggling arms across the Sinai and into Gaza, aided by Bedouin gangs, some of whom have ties to the Islamic State, but Hamas denies all of this. Insisting it has no connections nor sympathies toward ISIL. A video issued by ISIL several years earlier branded Hamas as infidels. Egypt is now applying pressure on Hamas to better control its border to prevent movement of fighters between Gaza and Sinai.

And because Gaza is partially dependent on Egypt for economic survival, leaving Hamas willing to trade for the promise of opening its border with Egypt, there is some compliance with the Egyptian demand. Over 300 Hamas fighters have been deployed now in three areas along the sea and two land border crossings with the Sinai, in reflection of that agreement. It should also be recalled that the Palestinians living in Gaza are themselves Egyptian in origin, like Hamas, like the Brotherhood.

Lest we forget in our confusion over strange alliances in this part of the world of Byzantine intrigues, hatred and violence, this is Hamas, the very same group held to be a terrorist organization alongside its parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood, by both Israel and Egypt. And this is the same Hamas whose charter's most important promise is the destruction of Israel. Hamas, the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which Egypt has outlawed.

A gunman from the Izz ad-Din al- Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, photographed inside an underground tunnel in Gaza, in 2014.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

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