The Islamic State (ISIS) finally is going to be brought its knees in its attempt to take use the Sinai as a step to expand its terrorist empire to include Gaza, Egypt and even Israel.
The war in the Sinai is not over, but the ISIS attacks on Egyptian army checkpoints and police stations Wednesday were met with a fierce response that eventually will show the world that the Islamic State cannot succeed where a country is unified. ISIS, like Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks, survive on anarchy.
Wherever there is a power vacuum, the terrorists can step in, bankroll schools and welfare program, and take over the area business infrastructure to control the economy and government.
That is what Hezbollah did in southern Lebanon and Hamas did in Gaza.
ISIS also is succeeding in Libya, a semi-anarchic state since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi.
It has frightened the world by beheading men, women and children, and it has recruited butcher knife-wielding agents in Western countries
But beheading victim does not mean it can take over a country unless it totally demoralizes its citizens into surrender.
The ISIS is not invincible, and its incursion into Egypt will prove it.
Egypt, unlike Iraq and Syria, is bordered by open waters on two sides, the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the east. The Sinai Peninsula’s tiny land border to the northeast is with Israel, where Cairo has no fear of ISIS terrorists infiltrating the country
That leaves only Libya to the east and Sudan to the south, and both of them indeed are dangerous sources of jihadists and weapons.
But Egypt has one other factor running in its favor, and that is a fierce nationalism that worship and despite its dictators but always survives them by finding another.
ISIS was able to exploit a civil war in Syria and a total breakdown of sanity in Iraq to gain power.
Egypt is a different story. The country was divided between secularist and Islamists after the fall of Mubarak, but with only two sides fighting each other, the victor took the spoils. The Muslim Brotherhood swept into power, and then fell a year later, succeeded by a military regime until an election placed General Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power last year.
The Sinai Peninsula is prime territory for ISIS. It is steeped in anarchy, neglected by Cairo for years, and its Bedouin tribes have carved out their own little fiefdoms.
Hamas and other terrorist organizations have exploited the vacuum of power over the past several years to carry out attacks in the Red Sea resort area and more recently on the army, but they always have been hit-and-run operations.
Geography and demography in the Sinai make it a wrong choice for ISIS. The Sinai is a desert. There are no major cities except for the Red Sea resort of El-Arish. The Egyptian air force Wednesday had no trouble in carrying out massive bombing raids on jihadist positions.
There was no worry of killing hundreds or even dozens of civilians, if there is such a creation in the criminal and terror-infested Sinai.
ISIS organized in the Sinai with the help of foreign intelligence, according to Egyptian military officials. It had no trouble smuggling weapons by sea from Sudan or from Gaza, but it would take a massive undercover infiltration outside of the Sinai and closer to Cairo for ISIS to be able to undermine the Egyptian regime.
Al-Sisi Wednesday night pre-empted a subversive Muslim Brotherhood-ISIS underground by approving drastic measures to expedite judicial proceedings against jihadists and their fund-raisers, with the death penalty hanging over their heads.