World View: Israel and Egypt Cooperate Against Terrorists in Sinai

World View: Israel and Egypt Cooperate Against Terrorists in Sinai

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Israel and Egypt cooperate against terrorists in Sinai
  • War breaks out between anti-Assad rebel factions in Syria

Israel and Egypt cooperate against terrorists in Sinai

Map of Sinai (Economist)
Map of Sinai (Economist)

Since the beginning of Egypt’s revolution and the overthrow ofHosni Mubarak over two years ago, violence has been growing in Egypt’sSinai region, which borders both Gaza and Israel. There havebeen numerous attacks on Egyptian security personnel, as well asrocket attacks on Israel, fueled by Islamist terrorists coming fromGaza and by anger and discontent among the native Bedouins.Whatever the political turmoil in Egypt or Israel, all of that is putaside, and the two countries are cooperating closely to fight Sinaiterrorism. 

Hamas, which governs Gaza, have been bitterly disappointed by therevolution. Mubarak had kept the Gaza/Egypt border firmly undercontrol. Hamas had hoped that with Mubarak gone, the border would beopened — and it was for a while. These hopes were doubled whenMohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, as Hamas wasoriginally an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

But the increasingterrorist activity in Sinai has trumped everything. Except for briefperiods of reprieve, Egypt has closed the Rafah border crossing thatallows the passage of people and goods between Gaza and Egypt. Notonly that, but Egypt’s army has closed more than forty major tunnels along the border that Gazans have been using to smuggle peopleand goods back and forth. 

The Sinai situation has deteriorated significantly in the twoweeks since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. Jihadists fromGaza, as well as Salafi jihadists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,have been targeting Egyptian and Israeli assets, and Egypt’snew interim government has responded by firmly shutting downall traffic between Gaza and Egypt. On Friday, an Egyptianhelicopter crossed over into Gaza airspace — supposedly byaccident, but quite possibly as a show of force againstHamas. 

Egypt opened the Rafah crossing two days ago but closed it again onFriday for security reasons. There are 1.7 million Palestiniansliving in Gaza, and the closing of the Rafah crossing and thesmuggling tunnels has led to an acute shortage of food and goods inGaza, particularly fuel. The increasing violence in Sinai makes itjust one more of the many Mideast flash points that could spiral outof control at any time. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Debka and Jamestown and Economist

War breaks out between anti-Assad rebel factions in Syria

As the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, allied with the Iranian-sponsored terror group Hezbollah and supplied with anunending stream of heavy weapons from Russia, continues its bloodyassault on the people of Syria, a conflict is breaking out between twoof the opposition rebel factions. A Syrian rebel commander with theFree Syrian Army (FSA) was shot and killed by another rebel groupconsisting of jihadists from al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra. Therehas been escalating violence between the two groups, fighting over thespoils of war. However, it looks increasingly like an al-Assadvictory is approaching, and in that case neither of the rebel groupswill get its way. Al-Jazeera and BBC

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Egypt, Sinai, Mohamed Morsi,Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Gaza, Hosni Mubarak, Bedouins,Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Jabhat al-Nusra,Free Syrian Army, FSA 

Permanent web link to this article

Receive daily World View columns by e-mail