This episode is focused mostly on the recent attack on a Sufi Islamic mosque in the Egyptian village of Biral-Abud. The village is located on the Sinai Peninsula, an area of Egypt that the central government in Cairo has little control over. What has grown in place of the military dictatorship Sinai has been Al Qeada, and more recently ISIS.
This attack was carried out by an regional ISIS cell which the newspapers call “Sinai Province”. Lead by Muhammad al-Iswai, this group has been expanding their control over the northern part of the Sinai. This is the area closest to the Gaza Strip, and of course Israel. An attack this one, or the more shocking downing of a Russian jetliner, definitely gets the attention of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
It is important to remember the Sinai Peninsula borders the Red Sea, which has a large tourism economy. The eastern coast of the Suez Canal also sits in on the Peninsula. An unstable Sinai is an international issue. Since Al Qeada began operating in the region in 2011, gas pipelines, the Canal and US troops have been in danger of attacks by Al Qeada and now ISIS.
Because of the disfranchisement of the Bedouin tribes of the Sinai, Cairo is dealing with a situation much like the tribal areas of Iraq or Afghanistan. Tribal leadership is the law of the land, and tribes either cooperate with the extremist groups or they fight them. The Sinai is no different. Stories of violence by Bedouin tribes against ISIS men in Sinai is not uncommon.
The reasons we can draw for the attack are many. Sufi Islam was founded in this small village, which groups like ISIS see as a crime against Islam. A more secular reason could be that that the Sufis have been working with the central authorities in Cairo to stop the growth of ISIS. This seems to me to make more sense, with religion has the cover. Further still, ISIS has been moving into tribal gang turf, as the Bedouins are in control of the smuggling of goods in Gaza. Attacks have taken place on both sides over these smuggling operations.
Israel has taken special interest in the Sinai, going back to the wars of the late 60s and 70s. The results of the Camp David Accords of 1979 still hold, as Egypt has to get Israeli approval for troop numbers within the Sinai. Israel has had talks about purchasing the Sinai Penensula from Egypt, helping to bring the right-wing in Israel it’s “fix” for the Gaza situation. The “Greater Gaza” idea is a real one, and includes moving the Arab population from Gaza to the Sinai, or at least expand the Strip south. By expanding Gaza, the hope is for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem to relocate, giving Israel full open range to settle the West Bank.
The “Greater Gaza” plan has the blessing of the United States. As does closer cooperation with Egypt and Israel. Joining this group more publicly then previously has been Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been working more closely with Israel, and with MSB at the head of the royal family, he is cracking down on the extremist element within his Kingdom. This has to be at the request of Washington and Tel Aviv.
The attack has been used by MSB to help sell his new counter-terrorism group, which includes 40 Muslim countries.
- The Pentagon has been caught trying to cover up child abuse by Afghan security forces. Troops had admitted in an Inspector General’s report that they had been ordered to “ignore” the sexual abuse of children by the security forces they train.
- Also in Afghanistan, the Trump administration has decided to start bombing opium production in the country. Once a crop our troops protected, recently the Taliban has taken over the trade from US allies, making the Pentagon have to make a 180 on heroin production in Afghanistan. This does give the military another excuse to continue the occupation that has gone on for over a decade.
- Peace talks in Geneva about the war in Syria went “nowhere” this week. With the West still pushing for Assad to step down, there is no chance for any agreement on terms while Assad holds a major upper hand on the ground in Syria.
- News has surfaced confirming what most already knew, the Pentagon has been lying about the number of troops in Iraq & Syria. The “official” numbers showed 500 troops in Syria, with another 5000 in Iraq. In reality, the numbers in Syria total 1700, with over 9000 in Iraq. This should be bigger news, but with CNN busy “getting” Trump, this story won’t become a scandal.
- Pentagon likely to announce US has 2,000 troops in Syria, not 500
- ISIS Attacks Sinai Mosque, at Least 305 Killed
- Egypt mosque attack leaves at least 305 dead in Sinai Peninsula
- Al-Qaeda Grows in Sinai
- Is Gaza-Sinai state a possibility for Palestinians?
- Egypt censored newspaper on Israel offers to ‘buy Sinai’
- Egypt Reels After Friday Mosque Attack in Sinai
- Mosque attack is a testament to Egypt’s impotence in Sinai
- Thousands More US Troops in Iraq, Syria Than Previously Admitted
- Pentagon Wants to Keep Report on Afghan Child Sex Abuse Classified
- Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks
- Isis plane attack: Egypt admits ‘terrorists’ downed Russian Metrojet
- The Greater Gaza Plan: Is Israel trying to force Palestinians into Sinai?
- US begins bombing Taliban opium plants in Afghanistan