Friday, 10 August 2012

Egypt: Sinai is becoming an operating base for militant Jihadis

Security analysts had been warning for some time that the Sinai was becoming an operating base for militant jihadis. The local tribesmen, who for centuries have smuggled goods across borders they do not recognise, have been bringing in arms looted from Libya's armouries, some for militants in Gaza some for their own use. It has not been established how many militants from outside the Sinai might also have been drawn to the region for the apparent ease with which they could operate outside the purview of Egyptian security. One of Israel's best known and most authoritative defence analysts, Ehud Yaari, wrote in a report published in January: "Measures are needed to prevent the total collapse of security in and around the peninsula [and] avoid the rise of an armed runaway Bedouin statelet."
He noted that armed gangs had been trafficking hundreds of people, mainly from the Horn of Africa or sub-Saharan Africa, who paid them thousands of dollars to ensure their passage through the border into Israel. It was to stop the influx of illegal immigrants as much as for security reasons that Israel embarked on its project to build a massive security fence along its Sinai border.
For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.
© 2012 Menas Associates

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