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August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sinai’

Evidence that Morsi Actually Lost the Egyptian Presidency

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Just days after his apparent victory, Cynthia Farahat and I expressed our skepticism about the validity of these election returns:

SCAF exploits the Muslim Brotherhood and other proxies as its civilian fronts, a role they are happy to play, by permitting Islamists to garner an outsized percentage of the parliamentary vote, then to win the presidency. During the suspicious week-long delay before the presidential votes were announced, SCAF met with the Muslim Brotherhood’s real leader, Khairat El-Shater, and reached a deal whereby Morsi became president but SCAF still governs.

Earlier, we had doubted two earlier rounds of elections (see “Egypt’s Sham Election” and “Don’t Ignore Electoral Fraud in Egypt.”)

Though few analysts have embraced this version, there have been hints of it:

(1) On July 31, 2013, Josh Goodman and James Parks wrote in “Morsi Was Neither Democratically Nor Duly Elected” that

hailing Morsi as the democratically elected representative of the Egyptian people appears to be based on a rather loose understanding of “democracy.” The Brotherhood has been accused of bribing and intimidating voters and rigging ballots during the 2012 elections. The election suffered from abysmally poor voter turnout (43.4% of registered voters), which is especially troubling given the ostensibly historic nature of the race. Out of 23 million voters in the first round of elections, 12 million did not vote for either of the two candidates ultimately placed in the run-off vote. Capping this all off was a blatant power grab from the military, which changed the constitution mid-election to limit the power of the newly elected President.

(2) On Aug. 3, 2013, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sisi gave an interview in which he both denied having rigged Morsi’s election and (more interestingly) asserted that he could have done so had he wanted to.

Q: So you were giving the president advice on Ethiopia and the Sinai, for example, and he was ignoring you?

A: We were very keen and predetermined on his success. If we wanted to oppose or not allow them to come to rule Egypt, we would have done things with the elections, as elections used to be rigged in the past.

Now comes a testimonial from an un-named Egyptian official via the Israeli politician Yossi Beilin in “Morsi didn’t win the elections” that

Ahmed Shafiq, the former air force commander and former president Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, actually won the race by a narrow margin. But the army generals—wanting to ensure that law and order would be upheld following the elections—feared that if Morsi was defeated, the Muslim Brotherhood would refuse to recognize the results and would end up conducting themselves just as they are now.

The official results, 51.73 percent for Morsi and 48.27% for Shafiq, were almost the exact reversal of what actually happened at the polls. After the results were published, we barely heard any calls for protest or opposition among the secular-liberals, while on the religious side—loyal either to the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafi parties—voters were happy with their achievement.

Beilin goes on to explain that military officers expected the inexperienced Morsi to respect the army but he did not. Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi came under pressure from fellow generals some months ago but Sisi gave Morsi a chance to make amends.

The Curse of Sinai

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

The Sinai Peninsula is a huge area, approximately 61,000 square kilometers, which is almost three times the area of the State of Israel, and its population is approximately 550,000, less than one tenth of the population of Israel. The residents of Sinai, despite  being Egyptian citizens for the most part, are not of Egyptian origin: their Arabic dialect is Saudi Arabian, their culture is different from Egyptian culture and they identify with the state of Egypt about as much as the Bedouins in the Negev identify with the state of Israel. Why is this so? The reason is that the Bedouin will never identify with a state, since the state symbolizes order and the rule of law, whereas the desert is spontaneous and the law that rules within it is the law of the tribes. Only when the Bedouin is part of the governmental system and enjoys its benefits does he identify with the state, for example in Jordan, and even there it is not always guaranteed.

The Sinai Peninsula was never an integral part of Egypt; it was annexed only in the beginning of the twentieth century, when Britain – which ruled Egypt at the time – wanted to keep some distance between the Ottoman Empire and the Suez Canal. The Egyptian state never tried to impose Egyptian law and order upon Sinai and this is easy to prove: There are few roads in Sinai and between those roads are great expanses that are inaccessible to the branches of government: police, health services, educational services and infrastructure. Even the Egyptian army viewed Sinai only as a training area and an arena for battle with Israel, and in general, it can be said that Sinai has always been an unwanted burden to Egypt, a step-son who was not expected to amount to much.

After Israel conquered Sinai in the Six Day War (in June of 1967) the Sinai Bedouins came to an agreement with the IDF: if Israel would allow the Bedouins to have autonomy and live life as they pleased, they would not object to Israeli rule over the area. Israel ignored the poppy plantations that were cultivated in Sinai, which supplied a significant part of world opium consumption, and the Bedouins ignored the Israeli tourists on the Red Sea beaches who did not behave according to the acceptable rules of Bedouin modesty. The many tourist villages that were in Taba, in in Nawiba, in di-Zahab and in Ofira (Sharm e-Sheikh) at that time, provided a good livelihood to the Bedouins. The proximity of IDF bases also brought economic benefit to the Bedouins . The good relations between the Bedouins and Israel was based on the fact that Israel had no intentions of trying to turn the Bedouins into Israelis culturally, and that Israel let them live their lives according to the principles and laws that they have lived by from time immemorial.

An important detail to note is that the border between Israel and Egypt was a line on the map, not a physical fence or wall, and this enabled the Sinai Bedouins, together with their family members who lived in the Negev, to support themselves by smuggling goods, drugs, women and illegal immigrants seeking work into Israel. The Israeli authorities knew about this smuggling industry, but for years did very little in order to stop it, because it served the economic interest of both sides and because of the desire to maintain good relations with the Sinai Bedouins, who brought intelligence information to Israel and not just goods.

When Israel withdrew from Sinai in 1982, sovereignty over the peninsula was restored to Egypt but the Egyptian state did not return to the open areas or to the high mountains of the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian government limited itself to the scattered cities that were located on the shores: on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea – Rafiah, el-Arish, Sheikh Zayed, on the coast of the Red Sea – Taba, Dahab, Nawab, Sharm-e-Sheikh, and the coast of the Suez Bay — e-Tur, Ras Sudar, Abu Rudis, Port Fuad. In an attempt to deal with the problem of unemployment in Egypt, beginning in the days of Mubarak, the Egyptian government urged many youths to go to Sinai in order to work in the oil industry, the quarries and the tourism industry. The Egyptian government initiated agricultural projects in Sinai that depended on water brought from the Nile, and the entry of thousands of Egyptians into Sinai was perceived by the Bedouins as an attempt to overwhelm them, push them out of the area and deprive them of their livelihood. This is how the tension between the state of Egypt and the Bedouin population began in Sinai after the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula.

Egypt Closes Border with Gaza as Clashes Continue

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Egypt closed the border between Sinai and Gaza Thursday as clashes between its government security forces and protesters backing deposed President Mohamed Morsi continued for a second day.

The Rafiah crossing was closed “indefinitely,” the French news agency AFP reported Thursday, citing an unnamed Egyptian security official. The crossing was closed due to fears of terrorist activity in the Sinai Peninsula.

Rafiah is the only border crossing out of Gaza that is not controlled by Israel.

 

Egypt Killed 30 Palestinian Authority Arabs Last Month

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

In the past month, Egypt has arrested 90 people in the Sinai, 7 of them Palestinian Authority Arabs. Egypt has also killed 60 armed people in the Sinai, of which 30 were Palestinian Authority Arabs.

In addition, Egypt destroyed 38 underground fuel tanks, according to EgyptIndependent.com.

28 of the tanks stored 634,000 liters of diesel fuel, and 10 tanks held 2,600,000 liters of gasoline. An additional 300,000 liters of diesel were seized before reaching Gaza, along with their fuel pumps.

These various actions were part of the Egyptian army’s war on terror in the Sinai.

There was no world outcry on the killing of 30 Palestinian Authority Arabs.

6 Egyptians Killed Overnight in Multiple Sinai Attacks

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

At least 6 Egyptians were killed and 11 injured in a series of attacks in the Sinai overnight. Among the dead are two Egyptian soldiers, 2 policemen, and 2 citizens.

Overall there were 10 overnight attacks that hit police stations, and military outposts in El Arish and Rafiach.

Egypt Crushes Hamas, Plans All-Out War on Sinai Terrorists

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The Egyptian military has demolished hundreds of smuggling tunnels from Hamas-controlled Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula and is preparing for an all-out onslaught against Hamas, Al Qaeda and other terrorists in the Sinai, Egyptian media reported Sunday.

The Egyptian offensive is a political and military shock to Hamas, with reverberations in Ramallah and Washington, on the eve of yet another attempt by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to re-ignite the “peace process.”

“The reduction in smuggling will make it difficult for Hamas to maintain the level of its revenues, and therefore it will be hard pressed to contain the protests against its rule,” according to the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS). “It will also be difficult to infiltrate weapons into Gaza, mainly enhanced rockets and surface-to-surface missiles.”

The Egyptian Aswat Masriya media outlet reported that 805 tunnels along the smuggling route, centered in the border city of Rafiah, were destroyed.  It said that most of the tunnels have been used to smuggle fuel into Gaza.

The Egyptian army will also close the Rafiah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip “indefinitely,” an official source told Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm. It closed the Rafiah crossing and placed a severe siege on Hamas on Friday but without a peep from the international community, which still condemns Israel for the maritime embargo that is aimed at preventing the import of terrorists and weapons from the sea.

Terrorists in Rafiah targeted a military checkpoint Saturday, but no casualties were reported, and Egypt opened the Rafiah border crossing for four hours Saturday to allow humanitarian cases to cross the border.

The tunnels have been a key route for terrorists to travel freely back and forth to the Sinai Peninsula and establish terrorist outposts aimed at staking out bases for attack on Egyptian tourist areas, such as El Arish, as well as urban areas.

The army killed at least five terrorists on Friday, but Egyptian media reported a larger-scale offensive is in the works after an attempted assassination of Second Field Army commander Maj. Gen. Ahmed Wasfy on Wednesday. Egypt is using heavy arms and warplanes, maneuvers that are prohibited under the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979 without Israel’s approval.

With the unstable and radical anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood out of power, thanks to the military “impeachment” or coup – take your pick – Israel is not blocking any offense,

“Security sources confirmed that Israel does not mind that the Egyptian forces use heavy artillery and warplanes during the operation which is expected to start very soon” military sources confirmed to the official television on Saturday.

Official added, “The army had decided to cleanse the Sinai of armed gangs and terrorists “The operation will continue until it reaches its objectives, which are not only military but also aim to develop the Sinai.”

The Egyptian Air Force on Saturday sent in two Apache helicopters to gun down jihadists after it received intelligence information that they were hiding in olive groves and preparing to attack military checkpoints.

On Friday, an Egyptian helicopter was seen in the skies over Gaza for the first time since the Six-Day War in 1967.

The Hamas terrorist organization is an offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and therefore is a natural enemy of the military that ousted Mohammed Morsi two weeks ago. Hamas has denied Egyptian military claims that its soldiers jailed 32 Hamas terrorists and arrested dozens others in the Sinai Peninsula last week.

Hamas figuratively shot itself in the head last August when it mounted a severe attack on the Egyptian army, killing 16 soldiers near Rafiah in a multi-pronged attack that was intended to continue into Israel but was foiled at the last minute by the IDF.

Ever since, Hamas has been an undeclared enemy of Egypt, and even the Morsi regime was suspicious of it.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority also is benefiting from Hamas’ miseries but is suppressing its joy because Hamas has widespread support among Arabs in Judea and Samaria who are fed up with chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Any moves by the Secretary of State Kerry to win some kind of a forum between Israeli and Palestinian Authority are a useless exercise without the inclusion of Gaza.

Another fallout of the offensive against Hamas might be negative for Israel in the near-term.

Report: Egypt in Undeclared War on Hamas, Kills 30, Arrests 200

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Egypt’s de facto interim military regime has attacked Hamas terrorists in the Sinai, killing more than 30 and placing approximately 200 others under arrest, according to the often reliable London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper

It quoted an Egyptian security official as admitting that the military is far from controlling the virtual anarchy that has reigned in the Sinai since the beginning of the revolutionary movement against the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Even though the Muslim Brotherhood founded the Hamas movement as an offspring, the ousted government of Mohammed Morsi was wary of Hamas, which is rivaled by other Islamic terrorist groups who are dead-set on creating chaos in Egypt as well as in Israel.

Dozens of terrorists from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, incensed by the military ouster of Morsi and the subsequent massacre of dozens of Muslim Brotherhood supports,  have joined Hamas terrorists in the Sinai.

“They enter Sinai through the tunnels to carry out attacks, along with others, and then return to Gaza through the tunnels. They take advantage of the surface and hide in the mountains,” he was quoted as saying.

Terrorist in the Sinai have frequently attacked Egyptian soldiers, killing more than dozen in one onslaught and kidnapping seven others as recently as last May.

The ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood is, so far, the best of both worlds for Israel. Still hated by most Egyptian leaders as well as the people, Israel can rely on a more stable government, democratically elected or not, than the Morsi regime that was running the country into the ground and creating a fertile ground for terrorists to exploit a vacuum of political strength.

Israel now has an undeclared ally against Hamas and is allowing Cairo to deploy heavy arms in the Sinai, a move which requires Israel approval as outlined in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979.

TIME quoted Washington Institute for Near East Policy David Makovsky on Thursday as saying, “Israel sees the Egyptian military as a pro-peace lobby inside the Egyptian political system.”

There is one big and dirty fly in the ointment for Israel. What would happen if Hamas were to collapse in Gaza and Fatah, headed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas, were to rule as it did before the Hamas coup in 2007?

The division of Judea and Samaria from Gaza , both politically and geographically, makes a Palestinian Authority country virtually impossible. If Abbas were to regain popularity there,  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union would have the ammunition to load up the guns of the “peace process” again.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/report-egypt-in-undeclared-war-on-hamas-kills-30-arrests-200/2013/07/11/

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