From the archive of Abdelrahim Ali
Why Sinai and why now?
When I had the honor of meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to conduct an interview with him for Al-Bawaba newspaper, he spoke to me for the first time about the project of Giora Eiland that Israel intends to implement in agreement with Hamas. It was prepared by the Israeli National Security Adviser, retired Major General Giora Eiland, and stipulates the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, provided that lands from the cities of Rafah, Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid will be included in it, for the settlement of Palestinian refugees and the final settlement of the Palestinian issue, at the expense of the Palestinians’ right to Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, abandoning the right of return for refugees, and replacing Hamas with the Palestinian Authority.
The talk at the time was surprising, but the subsequent events came to confirm what President Abbas had said. All the information made available so far, after the Karam al-Qawadis and the 101st Battalion operations, revealed a Hamas plan backed by Qatar, Turkey, Israel and the United States, to put pressure on the Egyptian army in the area of North Sinai in preparation for the expropriation of an area of land estimated at 1,600 km, after which Hamas will launch a war with Israel and the Israeli army will invade the Gaza Strip, while the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the terrorist wing of Hamas, pushes the Palestinians to cross the border barrier stationed in the Sinai, after which the situation will remain as it is and the victim must resort to the United Nations.
It was not surprising, then, that Hamas introduced more than 2,000 fighters from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades to the North Sinai region, purchased large quantities of weapons from Libya, and stored them in secret warehouses in Sinai, in preparation for their use in the first stage of the attack against the Egyptian army, with the participation of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, and in the second phase to protect and stabilize the new reality on the ground.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s reference came in his speech, which followed the recent attacks on Sinai, to confirm the political leadership’s full awareness of these diabolical schemes. The president was decisive when he affirmed that Egypt would not give up Sinai, and that death was more honorable to the armed forces than giving up one inch of our land, as Sinai is ours and we will develop it and clean it from terrorism.
The president did not stop in his speech at this point, but rather issued an order to unify the entire eastern canal region under one leadership represented by Lieutenant General Osama Askar, whose job is to fight terrorism and to develop the area.
Abbas exposed the international organization of the Brotherhood when he confirmed that this project was previously adopted by late ousted President Mohamed Morsi El-Ayyat after the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2012, where he offered Sinai to the Americans and the Israelis on a platter of gold.
The strange thing is that then-US President Barak Obama kept dreaming of implementing that project until the June 30 revolution came to blow the hopes and dreams of Obama, Netanyahu, Morsi and Khaled Mashal, and all the traitors who lurked evilly against this honest country.
Head of the snake
Hamas, the head of the snake, did not stop striving, especially after their parent organization was toppled from power in Egypt. The movement’s leaders quickly hatched a diabolical plan to exploit the presence of terrorist elements in Sinai, which had been planted during Morsi’s era, and they began to unite all these forces are under the banner of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in order to deal painful blows to the Egyptian army, especially those units in the area to be disarmed in favor of the idea of settlement, in a desperate attempt to expel the Egyptian army from that area and annex it in the future, after the artificial or agreed-upon invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Hamas, the establishment of the desired state, and the end of the Arab-Zionist conflict on the grounds of meanness and betrayal, in exchange for replacing Hamas with the Palestinian Authority.
Through the Giora Eiland project, Israel aimed to solve the demographic problem, where the steady increase in the number of the Palestinian population threatens the very existence of Israel in the future, which is what the Zionist state seeks to remedy, either by adopting this project or adopting the Jewishness of the state.
For all this, the main task of Osama Askar’s team has become very large, which is to close the logistical support tap provided by Hamas and the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, especially equipment, weapons and money, and to stop the flow of infiltrators recruited by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and envoys by ISIS to Sinai.
We know that it is not a simple task, as ISIS sends its fighters through Turkey, which, through its intelligence services, facilitates their entry into Egyptian lands through tourist visas or for the purpose of study. As soon as they land at the Sharm el-Sheikh or Cairo airports, the terrorist Brotherhood and their sympathizers seize them and send them to the North Sinai region through carefully selected routes, which the organization knows well.
Lieutenant General Osama Askar was able, during a short period during his leadership of the Third Field Army, to achieve unprecedented successes, represented in closing central Sinai to terrorist elements and preventing them from reaching the south and striking tourism, in addition to his cooperation with the Bedouins of southern and central Sinai in developing that area and raising the standard of living, which gave him the ability to impose the armed forces’ control over that area completely, an experience that the political leadership and the Egyptians hope Askar will transfer to the North Sinai region.
However, there are still measures and solutions that have become urgent in light of the current situation, which contributes to deterring terrorism and its plans, including:
First: The speedy issuance of a counterterrorism law in order to address all security and legal loopholes that terrorists and their supporters exploit to undermine the Egyptian state.
Second: The establishment of emergency state security courts to deal with all defects in legislation that confront terrorism.
Third: Implementing a number of important and urgent security and intelligence measures:
1- Besieging Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and cutting off its communication arteries.
2- Emphasis on airports and not allowing the infiltration of terrorist elements, especially those coming from Turkey, Tunisia, North African countries and Sudan.
3- Studying the Syrian and Iraqi reality and how the terrorist organizations operate there, especially ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, and training in dealing with this type of operation.
4- Establishing good relations with the Sinai tribes, urging them to cooperate with the army, providing them with support and protecting them from terrorist elements.
5- The speed of decoding and penetrating the wireless devices of terrorist organizations.
6- The speed and intensification of the use of drone technology in the skies over Sinai and the use of modern means of eavesdropping and monitoring.
7- Speed of reaction to attacks and training on readiness and preparedness.
8- Benefiting from the Iraqi, Kurdish and Afghan experiences in an attempt to repel suicide attacks, and studying those attacks through the Syrian and Iraqi reality.
9- Thwarting the organization’s attempts to create a popular incubator for it in the Sinai community.
10- Media intensification and warning of the dangers of the organization's continuation in the Sinai lands and its executions of tribesmen who disagree with it.