Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Egypt Attacks May Indicate Emerging Sinai Bedouin Insurgency
Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Focus ^ | May 17, 2006 | Chris Zambelis

Posted on 05/17/2006 2:26:29 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan

Egypt Attacks May Indicate Emerging Sinai Bedouin Insurgency

By Chris Zambelis

Egypt appears to have scored a number of successes in recent weeks in its war against Islamist militants. Counter-terrorist units and police converged on an olive grove in the mountainous area known as Gabal al-Arish on the outskirts of the northern Sinai coastal town of al-Arish last week after receiving a tip that members of the obscure Tawhid wal-Jihad (Monotheism and Struggle)—one of the main groups implicated in the deadly April attacks in Dahab and other strikes in Sinai—were hiding from the authorities (al-Sharq al-Awsat, May 9).

After a brief firefight, Egyptian authorities announced that they killed Nasser Khamis el-Mallahi, the alleged mastermind of the bombings in Dahab, and arrested Mohammed Abdullah Abu Grair, a close associate of his. They also reported killing six other alleged members of his group near al-Arish last week in a series of firefights. El-Mallahi is believed to have assumed the leadership of Tawhid wal-Jihad following the death of the group's alleged founder Khaled Mosaad, who was killed in a firefight with Egyptian security forces in Gabal Halal, just outside of al-Arish, in 2005 (al-Ahram, May 11).

In addition, Egyptian sources claimed another four men allegedly tied to el-Mallahi and the Dahab attacks turned themselves in on May 13. Egyptian Interior Ministry officials identified the men as Naif Ibrahim Saleh Ameira, Abdel Gadr Suweilim Suleiman, Ismail Salama Ouda Hussein and Hatem Musellem Rasheed al-Atrash. The four men are named on a list of 25 others from the area, all with alleged ties to Tawhid wal-Jihad. Khalil al-Menei, another suspect, surrendered the day before. Fifteen members of the alleged group are standing trial for their purported role in the 2004 attacks in Taba (Daily Star Egypt, May 13).

Many Egyptian sources attribute the string of deadly attacks in Sinai, beginning with the 2004 strike in Taba, to a formal alliance between local radicals and al-Qaeda. The style and complexity of the attacks in Dahab and elsewhere in Sinai point in that direction (al-Sharq al-Awsat, April 26). Others believe that al-Qaeda's brand of radicalism may be gaining ground among certain segments of Egyptian society, in this case Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula that are adopting Islamist extremist views and acting on their own. These groups are believed to maintain no operational links with al-Qaeda, but instead are influenced by the worldview and rhetoric of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, calling on followers to attack the hated incumbent administration in the region such as the Hosni Mubarak regime and U.S. forces (al-Sharq al-Awsat, April 26). Despite these concerns, Cairo remains adamant that it is not facing a resurgence of the terrorist violence that gripped the country in the 1980s and 1990s, but a series of isolated criminal acts meant to embarrass the state.

A closer look at the situation in Sinai may point to another ominous possibility behind the surge in radicalism. Relations between Cairo and the resident Bedouin tribes of the Sinai Peninsula have historically been marked by tension for many reasons. There is evidence, however, that the friction between the state and certain tribes is growing. This growing friction, coupled with the spread of extremist ideology, is a cause for alarm because it suggests that Egypt is in the early throes of an insurgency driven by deep-seated grievances and shaped by a mixture of Arab tribalism and radical Islamism unique to Sinai. Cairo has yet to provide credible evidence supporting its theory of possible al-Qaeda involvement in any of the Sinai attacks. This is another clue suggesting the indigenous character of the extremist activity.

In varying degrees, Sinai Bedouins represent an oppressed and impoverished segment of Egyptian society. Led by Nasser Khamis el-Mallahi, the el-Mallahi tribe is among the poorest in the region. One source of popular resentment toward the state is that much of the severely disadvantaged region has benefited little from the local tourist industry. This is especially true for the tribes that reside in northern Sinai near al-Arish, including the el-Mallahi. Local tribes also resent Cairo's political interference in local affairs. In contrast, southern tribes have benefited somewhat from robust investments in the tourist sector and social welfare projects. This translates into a more positive attitude toward the state (al-Ahram, November 2, 2005).

Cairo is known to employ harsh measures in securing and policing the region. It is not uncommon for security services to round up men in the hundreds, sometimes thousands, often comprising entire tribes and villages, in security sweeps targeting alleged terrorist cells (al-Jazeera, February 28, 2005). In extreme cases, women and children are also detained. The state also co-opts certain tribes through preferential treatment and the provision of benefits in order to expand Cairo's reach in what is otherwise hostile territory. This strategy inflames tensions between rival groups and alienates others, which in turn take out their anger against the state.

In general, the tribal identity of many Sinai Bedouins supersedes any attachment to the rest of Egypt. Although many tribes settled into towns and villages, their nomadic and tribal traditions differ markedly from the agricultural sedentary tradition characteristic of most Egyptians of the Nile River Delta region. The state's incursion into their traditional lands and way of life has always been seen as an affront on different levels. Cairo's failure to integrate most of the region into the rest of the country socially, politically and economically is largely to blame for these sentiments (al-Ahram, November 2, 2005).

The spread of radical Islam is undermining elements of traditional tribal culture in favor of a violent extremist outlook that combines aspects of both. The blend of provincial tribal Islam that prevails in much of Afghanistan and Pakistan are extreme examples of what Egypt may be witnessing in the Sinai, albeit in its early stages. If that is the case, Cairo will be facing a dramatically different threat compared to what it has confronted in the past.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 911; afghanistan; arabs; egypt; gwot; insurgency; iran; iraq; islam; israel; jewhater; middleeast; muslims; noob; notbreaking; nuclear; obl; oil; osamabinladin; pakistan; palestinians; saudiarabia; taliban; terrorism; waronterrorism; wot; zarqawi; zot
Soon we may be discussing how to do good ole' fashion couunter-insurgency ops in Egypt...
1 posted on 05/17/2006 2:26:38 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan
These groups are believed to maintain no operational links with al-Qaeda, but instead are influenced by the worldview and rhetoric of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, calling on followers to attack the hated incumbent administration in the region such as the Hosni Mubarak regime and U.S. forces (

I'm not familiar with the author and don't know his reliability or experience with the subject. However, I have a little trouble believing that bin Ladin's money isn't finding it's way into at least some of the pockets of Bedouin tribal leaders.

2 posted on 05/17/2006 2:33:27 PM PDT by prairiebreeze (God bless our fine military and their families.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan
the obscure Tawhid wal-Jihad (Monotheism and Struggle)

FYI, there are many Moslems who do not consider Christianity as a monotheistic religion due to it's doctrine of the Trinity.

3 posted on 05/17/2006 2:44:58 PM PDT by RonF
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: prairiebreeze

interesting take, but the idea that individuals are possibly insprired by osama's words and not money does not bode well for us. from what i read elsewhere the attacks in sinai did not cost much, so is it really osama's money at work here?


4 posted on 05/17/2006 2:50:24 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: RonF

interesting. just one more thing not to like about the muslim fanatics.


5 posted on 05/17/2006 2:51:02 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

I think this is the beginning of something unfortunately. Egypt will eventually fall to militant radicalism over the next 10-15 years. But it wont be permanent.


6 posted on 05/17/2006 9:44:32 PM PDT by rjp2005
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

I think this is the beginning of something unfortunately. Egypt will eventually fall to militant radicalism over the next 10-15 years. But it wont be permanent.


7 posted on 05/17/2006 9:46:37 PM PDT by rjp2005
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rjp2005

It will be washed away by the collapse of the aswan Dam..


8 posted on 05/17/2006 11:10:57 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: sheik yerbouty

I wish it were that easy. egypt has a nato-like armed forces and it has nuclear potential. i fear an al-qaeda take over.


9 posted on 05/18/2006 12:11:23 AM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: rjp2005

I wish it were that easy. Egypt has a nato-like military force. imagine al-qaeda with MI Abrams, Patriot missiles, and F-16s and Apaches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


10 posted on 05/18/2006 12:12:23 AM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

They are not nuclear. In the event of a conflagration, they will drown like Pharoah and his host..


11 posted on 05/18/2006 1:13:44 AM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: sheik yerbouty

i highly doubt that my friend. egypt is not afghanistan. look what they managed in 73 with old second-grade soviet stuff. had we not bailed out israel, they would have overran them. they did in the sinai.

again, consider what we provide the military. they are as nato as a non-nato member could be in terms of exquipment, logistics, etc.


12 posted on 05/18/2006 9:03:25 AM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

The Israelis ended up crossing the Suez Canal and encircled Egypt's Third Army along with its Soviet advisors. If the Aswan Dam is destroyed, just the air pressure alone will move forward at several atmospheres. Then comes the flood..


13 posted on 05/18/2006 10:46:20 AM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

Egypt had far more modern equipment than Israel did in a few scraps with Israel, and STILL managed to get their butts handed to them by Israel.
Never discount the Israeli propensity for coming up with very clever ways of defending themselves.


14 posted on 05/18/2006 12:31:05 PM PDT by Darksheare ("Oh No! Zombies!" Actually, they aren't. They just haven't had their coffee yet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: sheik yerbouty

i don't know what that means....

also, until us support, israel was getting it's b**** handed to it. somehting like 150 planes were shot down....let's not forget that folks. crossing of the suez alone is one of the greatest feats of modern warfare.

now back to the subject at hand:
my point here is that radicalization of egypt is very dangerous when one ponders their military might.


15 posted on 05/18/2006 1:45:59 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Darksheare

see above comment.


16 posted on 05/18/2006 1:46:26 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

and Israel also retreat from south lebanon, another reality.....


17 posted on 05/18/2006 1:47:38 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

I point you back to my comment, and all facts stated therein.


18 posted on 05/18/2006 3:52:51 PM PDT by Darksheare ("Oh No! Zombies!" Actually, they aren't. They just haven't had their coffee yet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

And Israel received Gaza and Golan heights, and other land by DEFENSIVE conquest.
Go troll elsewhere.


19 posted on 05/18/2006 3:53:30 PM PDT by Darksheare ("Oh No! Zombies!" Actually, they aren't. They just haven't had their coffee yet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan; Alouette; Slings and Arrows

Hey guuys.. pro-Egypt propagandist troll.


20 posted on 05/18/2006 3:54:02 PM PDT by Darksheare ("Oh No! Zombies!" Actually, they aren't. They just haven't had their coffee yet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Darksheare

what a joke!!!!

only speaking the truth, bud. read your military history and stop watching the 700 club for a couple of minutes.

again, the main point is that Egypt going radical is dangerous because of its military prowess, and that don't bode well for us of a and gwot.

why is that so hard to understand?


21 posted on 05/18/2006 9:13:17 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan; archy
No joke pal.
Egypt knows that if it attacks Israel it will get its butt tromped and stomped yet again.
Egypt had the best air defense systems the Russians could give them, and the best tanks available.
Israel had pretty much Super Shermans.

Guess who won that one.
Hint: You're ready to discount them at every turn to schill for Egypt for whatever reason.

"only speaking the truth, bud. read your military history and stop watching the 700 club for a couple of minutes."

And it is obvious you are here to troll, 'bud'.

"again, the main point is that Egypt going radical is dangerous because of its military prowess, and that don't bode well for us of a and gwot."

No, you keep making referencee to how Egypt is somehow tougher with the weaponry they have, while ignoring history and the fact that Israel is THE top country when it comes to desert tank warfare.
What is so hard to understand about THAT?

22 posted on 05/18/2006 9:20:37 PM PDT by Darksheare ("Oh No! Zombies!" Actually, they aren't. They just haven't had their coffee yet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

Agreed, regarding Egypt's radicalization..


23 posted on 05/18/2006 10:11:58 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: RonF

Towelhead Jihad??? Do none of these groups think about their names how they sound to english-speaking readers?


24 posted on 05/18/2006 10:18:43 PM PDT by Schwaeky (Welcome to America--Now speak English or LEAVE!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Darksheare
Egypt had the best air defense systems the Russians could give them, and the best tanks available.
Israel had pretty much Super Shermans.

Guess who won that one.

Well...no. Most of the equipment supplied by the Soviets was not at all their first-line equipment, but stripped-down *export models* that were both simpler and less costly for third-world nation recipients to maintain, less expensive for the Soviets to supply, and not as likely to give away the secrets of the best toys in the Soviet toybox if/when captured.

That said, the Soviet T-62s were of great consern, and so were the Soviet wire-guided antitank missiles, which changed the way Israeli tankists did business considerably [all Israeli tanks now have mortars fitted in the turrets now, for instance; WP rounds can burn out the guidance wires from Saggers.] But most of the tanks supplied by the Soviets were T-54s- a very credible fighting vehicle, examples of which remain in Israeli service as Achzaret armoured personnel carriers.

The most common tank in Israeli service was the former British Centurion, usually upgunned with an Israeli-built version of the 105mm L7A1, a version of which also equipped the American M48A5, M60 and M60A1...as well as the first US Abrams M1 tanks and the German Leopard I. There were certainly many Shermans remaining in service, some with the low-pressure French F1 105mm gun, others fitted with a variant of the French AMX-13 75mm, copied from the German Panther's 75. There were also American M48A2cs, some reworked with the Israeli 105mm, some still carrying their original 90mm gun. The best thing about those Israeli Shermans was their reservist crews: Unlike US tank crews, the Israelis trained a crewman in one position [driver/loader/gunner/commander] in one model of tank...and some of those Sherman crews had been serving in their Shermans since they had been obtained, some from the French, some captured from various Arab armies in the 1947 and 1956 wars. They knew exactly what their vehicles and their guns would and would not do, and had previously fired live rounds at captured Arab T-34s [some sources say T-54s, too] in training.

In the IDF, the tank crewman is considered one of the elite, as much as any paratrooper, antiterrorist commando, or fighter pilot. And I know IDF tank crewmen who wouldn't trade their seat in their tin foxhole for the job of the IDF Chief of Staff or the PM. The *boys from Shizafon*, the Heyl Shiryon really are just almosty as good as they think they are.


25 posted on 05/19/2006 9:38:14 AM PDT by archy (I am General Tso. This is my Chief of Staff, Colonel Sanders....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Darksheare

Move to Israel. America's interest first. Not Israel. Please leave ASAP. Fight terrorism first; don't propogate foreign agenda here.

Point 2: read your military history, and the informative threat below describing each side's weapons systems.

and by the way, they used to call me the troll in the 'Nam.


26 posted on 05/19/2006 12:00:52 PM PDT by RepublicanRaderFan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: RepublicanRaderFan

LOL.
Nice sidestep 'bub'.


27 posted on 05/19/2006 12:06:30 PM PDT by Darksheare ("Oh No! Zombies!" Actually, they aren't. They just haven't had their coffee yet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson