HEART rending shock waves were felt not only in Egypt but in the region and all over the world also as a result of massive shooting in Rawdah mosque in the northern part of the Sinai peninsula, in which deadly terrorists took away 235 innocent lives with many still trying to survive. After this terrorist attack the question arises, why Bir al Abed? Why did they choose innocent Egyptians from this part of the country? Apparently the habitants of this village refused to comply with the demands of the militant groups, said ‘NO’ to terrorists and refused to provide them a safe haven in their village. These innocents paid heavy price for this refusal as we witnessed. Looking into a broader perspective, we will look into the reasons and the implications attributed to this attack.
Firstly, Egyptian army succeeded in their fight against terror to push them round the corner and expel them from the main cities of the north Sinai such as Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuayed. The terrorists met with great frustration and stared to launch attack on soft targets. To inflict collateral damage to the people of Sinai and the central government in Cairo the accomplishment in breaking the backbone of these groups on the western border with Libya especially after the great achievement of taking down of scores of militants in the area which was carried out by the group called Al Murabiteen.
Secondly, the political success of the Egyptian government by mediating between the two major Palestinian factions – Hamas and Fatah – has completely famished the line of supply and support to these militants. After the reconciliation between the Palestinians, Hamas has shown great cooperation with the Egyptian authorities and provide them with information that lead to inflict several strikes to the hideouts of these terrorists inside and outside the peninsula. Thirdly, observers believe that the Egyptian government, its intelligence and security agencies have to enhance its coordination with the Palestinian authorities in order to tighten up the circles around these groups to dry up and bury these terrorist groups under their own line of supply and financial support that comes through a clumsy border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip and other parts of Sinai, particularly when the Egyptians decided to handover the administrative control of the Rafah passage to the Palestinian authorities.
Fourthly, the other important development that could also link the reason behind this barbaric attack is advancement of Egyptian security agencies to knock down the biggest espionage network that was working within Egypt with the support of international agencies that led to the arrest of 29 Egyptians and some other foreign nationals. ISIS and its faction groups sharing the same ideology of establishing khilafat in the region and whosoever goes against them, is called a Kafir as per their definition. These groups have faced severe damage after the Iraqi forces pushed the ISIS fighters out from Mosul and other Iraqi cities towards the Syrian border.
A military operation called ‘revenge’ was launched as the first action in which several militants taking part were killed. President Abdul Fattah Sisi immediately affirmed to the Egyptian people in his televised speech that Egypt after this barbaric massacre is stronger than ever and will fight back all terrorists in its land and beyond. Egypt is targeted through regional designs to divide the region and destabilize the Egyptian State, involving the US and Israel as they plan to resettle the Palestinians in north Sinai to enable Israel to expand its resettlement plan in the Gaza Strip. The Financial Times reveals that the Egyptian government has repulsed the pressure from both Washington and Tel Aviv over the past four years and the alternate was to launch such an operation through these guerrilla groups inside the Egyptian territory in order to turn the tribal community in Sinai against the government.
The latest in devour by the American Administration of Donald Trump to pressurise President Sisi was through a message sent by an envoy to Sisi during his recent visit to Cyprus in which American Administration confirmed huge investment in Egypt to help revive the economy and help Egypt to secure its western border as well as resolving the water crisis with Ethiopia which is building a dam that can reduce Egyptian allocations of the Nile water which Egypt sees a direct threat to its national security. In return of these offers, Egypt has to agree to give away parts of northern Sinai especially Al-Aris, Sheikh Zuayed and Bir Abd. Egypt is confronting a regional strategic war. Egyptian government and people are determined not to compromise under any circumstances or pressure against its national security and sovereignty.
— The writer is Researcher in Middle East Affairs.