The leader of the coup regime in Egypt resorted to repeating the same broken record as grounds to justify the death of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, saying that what happened was a “foreign conspiracy” and that the attack was carried out with foreign support, without pinpointing who these supporting parties were and what type of support they provided.
However, the most dangerous statement made by the leader of the coup regime was his threats directed at the Gaza Strip and his announcement that he would take many measures in the border region, especially in Rafah, in order to “end the problem at its roots”. He also declared a state of emergency and a curfew in northern Sinai and the closure of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip until further notice.
Al-Sisi’s statements and his measures on the ground mean that the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas is the object of his threats and vows. This puts the Gaza Strip in direct confrontation with the coup government ruling Cairo.
Of course Al-Sisi resorted to the traditional solution and the usual excuse, i.e. “foreign conspiracy”, but he did not once mention the ongoing war against the people of Sinai since the coup, the crimes committed against them, the neglect they have been subjected to, or the fact that they are not being treated as humans.
Since the beginning of the coup and until now, i.e. in a 15 month period, Al-Sisi has killed 1,050 tribe members in Sinai, 70 citizens a month, arrested over 8,000, wounded 3,000, demolished 860 houses, burned over 1,000 Bedouin tents, and uprooted over 120,000 fruitful olive trees extending from El-Arish to Sheikh Zuweid and from Jura to the city. He also destroyed 45 groundwater wells in the region, burned over 600 of the people’s cars, and uprooted all the trees close to the Palestinian border with Rafah.
Al-Sisi himself confessed to killing 500 “terrorists”, which is by all measures and standards a true massacre. The question that must be directed at the regime is: Is it easy to kill 500 “terrorists”, a number that American aircrafts along with fighter jets from 10 coalition countries failed to kill in the city of Kobani? Are America and its weapons weaker than the Al-Sisi’s coup regime’s military machine? Or are the people killed by Al-Sisi actually ordinary peaceful people who have nothing to do with the alleged terrorism?
Al-Sisi and his coup regime’s game in Sinai is clear and evident; he wants to evacuate the people in northern Sinai, and it is enough to cite the fact that the Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid City Council formed a committee and prepared a list of 680 homes that should be evacuated by its inhabitants in order to empty the area close to the Gaza Strip from its population. These inhabitants will be given land 30 kilometres away from the border or financial compensation in exchange for their evacuation, which provoked popular outrage among the residents of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid. Their response to this was that the Israeli occupation was not able to force them to leave their homes and abandon their land and property, and they are accusing the army and its leaders of wanting to seize their land, not fight terrorism as they claim, because the armed militants are located in the mountains and not in the cities.
The problem with the Cairo leaders is that they do not understand “the Bedouin psychology” and do not understand the meaning of engaging in a battle with the Bedouins. They do not realise that Bedouin revenge never dies and they will live their entire lives in order to obtain their rights by force. All the people killed and wounded by these leaders will be avenged sooner or later. Despite this, the coup generals are foolish enough to pay the price of “their recognition and their granted legitimacy” by acting as a tool used in the Kobani agreement to fight terrorism in order to protect Israel and eliminate Hamas and all Palestinian jihadi factions.
The game in Sinai is a big game and the fireball will continue to grow, growing too big to be contained by the coup generals. Evacuating Sinai from its inhabitants and transforming it into a buffer zone will do nothing but turn all the people of Sinai into vicious enemies of the coup regime.
As for Hamas, if Israel, with all its might, was unable to eliminate Hamas, will the coup generals, who lead a damaged weak regime, be able to? This is difficult, if not impossible, and eradicating Sinai and Gaza is an impossible dream that will turn into a nightmare that haunts General Al-Sisi and the supporters of his coup.
Translated from Al-Sharq newspaper, 26 October, 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.