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Conflict in Sinai Peninsula Escalates
Violence between the Egyptian government and jihadi militants in the Sinai has spiked since the assassination of the country’s top prosecutor on Monday. Egypt’s Islamic State-affiliate Sinai Province staged a series of coordinated attacks on military checkpoints yesterday, even besieging a town until the Egyptian military conducted airstrikes and sent in attack helicopters to provide ...
Violence between the Egyptian government and jihadi militants in the Sinai has spiked since the assassination of the country’s top prosecutor on Monday. Egypt’s Islamic State-affiliate Sinai Province staged a series of coordinated attacks on military checkpoints yesterday, even besieging a town until the Egyptian military conducted airstrikes and sent in attack helicopters to provide close air support. The government said that 17 Egyptian soldiers and 100 militants were killed, but unofficial sources place the figures much higher. A new set of airstrikes this morning reportedly killed an additional 23 militants.
In Cairo yesterday, police raided an apartment and killed nine people, including a former member of parliament belonging to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood posted a statement online that “The criminal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is laying the foundations for a new phase where it will not be possible to control the anger of the oppressed, who will not accept to be so executed in their homes among their families.” The statement concluded by calling on supporters of the Brotherhood to rebel against the government.
Syrian Kurds Warn against Turkish Intervention
Amid new reports that Turkey is considering intervening in Syria to displace the Islamic State and check Kurdish advances, Syria’s leading Kurdish party warned in a statement that “Any military intervention in Rojava will have local, regional and international repercussions and will contribute to complicating the political situation in Syria and the Middle East and threaten international security and peace.” The party warned that it was prepared to meet any aggression and called on NATO to prevent “reckless” Turkish actions.
- The United Nations has raised its classification of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen to a “level-3 emergency,” the most severe designation, stating that 80 percent of the population is in need of aid.
- The Tunisian government has arrested eight people it believes to have “direct links” to the shooting on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia, that left 38 tourists dead.
- Members of the British Parliament are urging the government to begin airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria; the Royal Air Force has so far only struck Islamic State targets in Iraq.
- Islamic State militants threatened to topple Hamas and take over Gaza in a new video; though there are Islamic State sympathizers operating in Gaza, the video was released from Syria and also threatened Fatah and Israel.
- Syrian Kurdish forces have rebuffed an Islamic State attack on Tal Abyad and retaken contested neighborhoods.
Arguments and Analysis
“Egypt’s Next Phase: Sustainable Instability” (Michael Wahid Hanna, The Century Foundation)
“Despite unprecedented economic and security challenges and the first signs of serious public dissatisfaction with the Sisi regime, there is no evidence that these complaints will ripen into a challenge to the sustainability of Sisi’s rule. Paradoxically, this sustainability will endure despite the inevitable instability that will be a persistent feature of Egyptian life in the near-term future. Instability is unlikely to translate into serious regime vulnerability so long as the state remains outwardly unified and coherent, which itself is highly likely in an environment when the state and its institutions perceive a collectivized sense of fate. With an irreparably fragmented state of political opposition coming together with other key factors to produce an environment of sustainability, Egypt and the outside world will have to contend with the durability of the Sisi regime and the unlikelihood of a political course correction amidst a deteriorating security situation.”
“Rethinking reconstruction in Gaza” (Benedetta Berti and Zack Gold, European Council on Foreign Relations)
“The good news is that there is growing international interest in brokering an arrangement between Israel and Hamas that would secure a longer period of calm and spur reconstruction of, and investment in, Gaza. The bad news is that Hamas remain far from united with Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in the West Bank. While momentum for reconstructing Gaza still exists, it is time to seriously re-think the current approach and push for a policy that strengthens reconciliation between both Israel and Hamas as well as between the Palestinian factions.”
-J. Dana Stuster
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images