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Egyptian Policy Towards Terrorism from 2014 to 2019
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By Fatma Tawfik

Abstract:

The paper demonstrates the Egyptian policy towards terrorism since 2014 based on the (systematic analysis approach) by David Austen, the paper clarifies the terrorist methodology in it is attacks on Egypt, the Egyptian government policy towards it, and the costs and effectiveness of this policy.

Keywords:

Egypt, Terrorism, Sinai, public policy. 

Introduction:

Egypt has faced a raising rate of terrorist acts, especially in Sinai, and it even spread in delta governorate, Since 25th of Jan. 2011 revolution[1].  In 2014, during the transitional phase led by president Adly Mansour, the terrorist acts had reached 222 terrorist attacks[2].  So when president el Sisi won the presidential election, he declared a war against terrorism.

Research problem:

“What is the cost of Egypt policy towards terrorism from 2014to 2019?”

In this context, the study attempts to answer the following three research questions:

1) What are the terrorist attacks on Egypt since 2014?

2) What is the policy of Egypt against terrorism?

3) What is the cost that Egypt paid in its policy towards terrorism?

Methodology:

This study is based on the approach of (systematic analysis approach) by David Austen where the methodology contains input, output, and feedback.

In this study, the input is the events that led Egypt to obtain a policy towards terrorism. The output is the policy itself and what Egypt has done in its war against terrorism.  And the feedback is the cost that Egypt has paid on its policy against terrorism.

Section One

Terrorist attacks on Egypt since 2014:

Terrorism is: “the intentional generation of massive fear by human beings to secure or maintain control over other human beings"[3]. Thus, terrorism can be conduct by government, organizations or even by one person. This section will explain the terrorist attacks on Egypt since 2014.

1) Terrorist attacks in Sinai since 2014.

a) The bombing of Taba bus was a terrorist attack on a tourist bus in Taba, as it was waiting to cross the border to Israel when a single suicide bomber entered the bus and detonated explosives in Feb 2014[4].

b) Karam al-Quwadis attacks were terrorist attacks carried out by Ansar beat al-Maqdisi against the Egyptian army in sheik Zuwaid in October 2014[5].

c) Ansar beat el-Maqdis launched a series of attacks on military and security sites in el Arish and sheik Zuwaid using car bombs in Jan 2015[6].

d) Isis attack on the Egyptian military checkpoint in al-Arish caused 12 dead military officers in October 2016[7].

e) Isis attacks on police officers have killed 18 policemen in November 2017[8].

f) el Rawda Sufi mosque attack by 40 gunmen from Isis which killed over 300 people on November 2017[9].

7) The start of the Egyptian military operation (Sinai operation) in 2018[10].

8) Isis attack on al Safa security base which led to the death of one officer and 14 Soldier in Feb 2019[11]

2) The methodology of terrorist attacks against Egypt:

It has been noticed that the terrorist are performing their attacks by a certain methodology which Ahmed Kamal el Bhairy, researcher specializing in terrorism represented it in his article “ monitoring of terrorist operations in Egypt during 2016”[12] as:

  • Targeting the structure of the state represented in the network of electricity, telecommunication, railways, and public transport.
  • Increasing targeting of security forces, whether police forces or army forces.
  • Increased targeting of the judiciary.
  • Operations directed against economic companies.
  • The high rate of use of IEDs as a mean of terrorist operations.

That highlights that terrorist attacks are a major issue for Egypt, as terrorists target vital centers in Egypt, and perform operations that damage the internal stability.

Section Two

Egyptian policy towards terrorism

When President El-Sisi was the Minister of Defense, he asked the Egyptian people to delegate the Egyptian army in its war against terrorism in Friday 26 July 2013[13].

To understand the Egyptian policy towards terrorism we need to know the definition of the policy:

”a course of action adopted by a government, party, ruler, statesmen or organizations[14] “.

  1. The Egyptian Policy Against Terrorism

Egypt has adopted a military strategy to end the terrorism named termination strategy.[15] The strategy is summarized as follows:

1) Security and military work.

2) Legal legislation that provides legal cover for anti-terrorism operations such as demonstration law, protect public facilities and the reactivation of emergency law.

Egypt used specific strategies for dealing with terrorist threats at the regional level[16] which can be summarized as:

1) The strategy of limited punishment such as air raids inside Libya.

2) Cutting off logistic support for terrorists on the border between Egypt and Gaza and Libya.

3) Supporting allies across border strategy such as supporting the Libyan national army.

4) Supporting stability in unstable territory strategies such as the opposition to changing political regimes in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

2) The effectiveness of Egypt policy towards terrorism:

1) Between 2014 to 2016, the number of terrorist operations reached 1165 operations, mainly in north Sinai governorate[17] .

The highest number of terrorist attacks was in 2015, with 594 attacks[18] while in 2016, terrorist attacks reached a lower number of 199 attacks[19].

2) The terrorism index in 2017 increased to 7.35 from 7.17 in 2016[20].

3) In 2017, Egypt ranked sixth in the Arab world and eleventh worldwide on the global index of terrorism[21] .

4) In 2018, Egypt faced only eight terrorist attacks; one of them occurred in Minya against Christians in November[22].

 5) In 2019, there was only one terrorist attack (el Safa security base attack)[23].

According to this, Egyptian policy is working to eliminate terrorism inside its border, resulting in lower the number of attacks from 594 in 2015 to only 8 in 2018. This demonstrates that Egyptian policy was effective and achieved its goal, in fighting terrorism.

Section Three

The Cost That Egypt Paid in its Policy Towards Terrorism

The Egyptian war against terrorism has abated but it has its costs.

Political costs

The international accusation that Egypt does not respect the human rights of their citizens by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International was related to the declaration of the extended state of emergency since 2014.  The Egyptian government was accused of sending hundreds of civilians to military trials in cases related to political issues[24].

According to a human rights report of Egypt, security agents have been accused of the disappearance of at least 1700 person from 2015 to 2017[25]. The report also accused Egypt to have more than 2000 political prisoners in Borg el Arab prison alone[26].

Egypt’s Speaker of Foreign Ministry replied to that report, saying “the section on Egypt in this and other similar reports is based on unregistered data and reports provided by non-governmental organizations and organizations motivated by opposing political position”[27]

Economic costs

Egypt’s military expenditures in 2014 were 4518 million US dollars while in 2015, the amount reached 4790 million dollars[28]. In 2016, military expenditure decreased to 4513 million dollars and it continued to decrease in 2017, to 4003 million dollars[29].

Life casualties

  1. From 2013 to Jan 2017, there were 900 deaths in the army and police[30].
  2. One of the most prominent attacks was the murder of the General Attorney (Hisham Barkat) in 2016[31].
  3. In 2016, the death of the civilians due to terrorist attacks reached 396 civilians[32].
  4. In 2017, more than 300 civilians died in el Rawda mosque attacks[33].
  5. In 2019, el Safa security base attack caused the death of one officer and 14 soldiers[34].

Targeting tourist locations

1) In November 2015, the Russian plane crash caused the loss of tourist revenue of 4 billion dollars over two years[35].

2) In 2015 a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the Karnak temple in Luxor[36].

3) The social cost:

Forced internal immigration in Sinai:

In October 2014, the Egyptian government began constructing a buffer zone of 13.5 K.M and the depth of 500 meters on the border with Gaza which continued to expand[37].  The first and second phase of expanding the buffer zone included the demolition of 2000 houses[38].

In sum, Egypt has successfully decreased the rate of terrorist attacks inside its border, but this policy came with a certain cost, that Egypt paid in three forms political, economic and social costs.

Conclusions:

  • Terrorist attacks in Egypt, mainly in Sinai and the delta governorate, caused the death of hundreds of civilians and from the military and police officers.  
  • The methodology of the terrorists was to attack vital centers inside Egypt such as military and police, tourist sites, the structure of the state represented in the network of electricity, telecommunication, railways and public transport, economic companies, and the judiciary workers.
  • Since the Egyptian revolution in 2011, Egypt faced a large number of terrorist actions, which increased in 2013-2015. Egypt adopted a policy of (termination), using military forces and legislation in its war against terrorism.
  • Egyptian policy towards terrorism showed to be effective as the attacks have sharply decreased in 2018 to reach only eight attacks. But Egyptian government strategy was basically a military strategy without any consideration of activating the cultural, media and educational elements to enlighten the society it was a complete fail.    
  • Egypt paid the cost of its policy in three forms: political, economic and social costs.
  • The political cost was the international accusation of being an anti-human rights country due to the continuous activation of the emergency state.
  • While the economic loss comes in the form of the loss of human life, including civilians and military and police officers, there was the monetary loss of billions of dollars in the tourism sector and money spent on military expenditure.
  • The social cost is primarily about the forced internal immigration in Sinai. 

References:

  1. BOOKs:

Hill, Michael and Varone, the public policy process, London and New York, Routledge, 2014, sixth edition.

  1. Scientific periodicals:

1-Cooper Harold, terrorism: the problem of definition revisited, American behavioral scientist 44, no: 6, Feb 2001

2-Kamal Ahmed, monitoring of terrorist operations in Egypt during 2016, al-Ahram center for political and strategic studies, 19291, Jan 2017, available on http://acpss.ahram.org.eg/news/5619.aspx

3-Terrorist operation: tracks and properties since Jan 2011, Kamel Ahmed, al-Ahram center for political and strategic studies, 10764, Jan. 2017, link: http://acpss.ahram.org.eg/news/5669.aspx

3) Other sources:

1) Reports:

1-A report by the state information service: 2018..terrorism is dying in Egypt, state information service, Dec 2018, available on http://www.sis.gov.eg/story/136849/A-report-by-the-state-information-service-2018..-terrorism-is-dying-in-Egypt?lang=en-us

2-Egypt human rights report, US department of state, bureau of democracy, human rights and labor, 2018.

3- World report 2018-Egypt, human rights watch, JAN. 2018, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/egypt

  1. Websites:

1-12 Egypt soldiers killed in Sinai attacks: army, al-monitor, Agence of France Presse, October 2016, available on http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2016/10/Egypt-unrest-sinai.html

2-Abd el-Fatah Khaled, terrorist attacks in Sinai 2013-2016, security and military studies unite, available on http://group73historians.com/-??????-??????1330-2013-2016. 

3-Abdelhamid Ashraf, Egypt…suicide attack on Karnak temple in Luxor, al Arabiya, June 2015, available on https://www.aalarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/egypt/2015/06/10/

4-Abo zed aymen,(fouda) announces the loss of tourism in Sharm el-sheikh after the fall of Russian plane, al Masry alyoum, Oct 2017, available on https://www.almasryalyoum.com/news/details/1208040

5-Al-wahidy Fatima, the terrorist in Egypt reaching its last stop, Egypt today, November 2018, available on https://www.egypttoday.com/articale/2/59998/terrorism-in-egypt-reaching-its-last-stop

6-Egypt military expenditure, trading economics, available on https://tradingeconomics.com/egypt/military-expenditure

  7-Egypt terrorism index, trading economics, 2017, available on https://tradingeconomics.com/egypt/terrorism-index

8-Egypt..a year of black blood terrorism, sky news Arabia, 2017, available on https://www-skynewsarabia-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.skynewsarabia.com/amp/middle-east/1020436  

9-Egypt: terrorism under SISI… is the security solution a hope? , france24, March 2018, available on https://amp-fransce24-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/amp.france24.com/ar/2018035

10-Egyptian interior ministry: 16 Gunman killed in raids in the city of Arish, BBC Araby, Feb 2019, available on http://www.bbc.com/arabic/middeleast-47266277

11-Four years on the “mandate”.. Why didn’t we defeat terrorism, masr al-Arabia, April 2017, available on http://m.masralarabia.com/1402624-4- 

12-Ghosts city: Sinai residents are deposed after two years of genocide and displacement, el-aadasa, Sep. 2017, available on https://thelenspost.com/2017/09/11

13-US state department report condemns Egypt's human rights violations, Egypt reject s it, Mada masr, available on https://madamasr.com/en/2019/03/16/news/u/us-state-department-report-condemns-egypts-human-rights-violation-egypt-reject-it/amp/ 

14-Walsh Declan, Youssef nour, militants kill 305 at Sufi mosque in Egypt deadliest terrorist attack, the new york times, November 2017, available on https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/24/world/middeleast/mosque-attack-egypt.html

 


[1] Terrorist operation: tracks and properties since Jan. 2011, Kamel Ahmed, al-Ahram center for political and strategic studies, 10764, Jan. 2017, available on http://acpss.ahram.org.eg/news/5669.aspx.

[2] Previous study.

[3] Cooper Harold, terrorism: the problem of definition revisited, American behavioral scientist 44, no:6, Feb 2001.

[4] Abd elfatah Khaled, terrorist attacks in Sinai 2013-2016, security and military studies unite, available on http://group73historians.com/-??????-??????1330-2013-2016.

[5] Previous study.

[6] Previous study.

[7] 12 Egypt soldiers killed in Sinai attacks: army, al-monitor, Agence of France Presse, October 2016, available on http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2016/10/Egypt-unrest-sinai.html   

[8] Egypt..a year of black blood terrorism, sky news Arabia, 2017, available on https://www-skynewsarabia-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.skynewsarabia.com/amp/middle-east/1020436  

[9] Walsh Declan, Youssef nour, militants kill 305 at Sufi mosque in Egypt deadliest terrorist attack, the new york times, November 2017, available on https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/24/world/middeleast/mosque-attack-egypt.html

[10] Previous study.

[11] Egyptian interior ministry:16 gunman killed in raids in the city of Arish, BBC Arabic, Feb 2019, available on http://www.bbc.com/arabic/middeleast-47266277

[12] Kamal Ahmed, monitoring of terrorist operations in Egypt during 2016, al-Ahram center for political and strategic studies, Jan 2017, available on http://acpss.ahram.org.eg/news/5619.aspx

[13] Four years on the "mandate".. why didn't we defeat terrorism, masr Arabia, April 2017, available on http://m.masralarabia.com/1402624-4- 

[14] Hill, Michael and Varone, the public policy process, London and new york, Routledge, 2014, sixth edition, page 14.  

[15] Egypt: terrorism under SISI… is the security solution a hope? france24, March 2018, available on https://amp-fransce24-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/amp.france24.com/ar/20180325 

[16] Pervious study.

[17] Kamal Ahmed, monitoring of terrorist operations in Egypt 2016, pervious study.

[18] Previous study

[19] Pervious study.

[20] Egypt terrorism index, trading economics,2017, available on https://tradingeconomics.com/egypt/terrorism-index

[21] Egypt: terrorism under SISI… is the security solution a hope? pervious study.

[22] Al-wahidy Fatima, the terrorist in Egypt reaching its last stop, Egypt today, November 2018, available on https://www.egypttoday.com/articale/2/59998/terrorism-in-egypt-reaching-its-last-stop

[23] BBC Arabic, pervious study.

[24] World report 2018-Egypt, human rights watch.JAN 2018, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/egypt

[25] Egypt human rights report, US department of state, bureau of democracy, human rights and labor,2018

[26] The previous study.

[27] US state department report condemns Egypt's human rights violations, Egypt reject s it, Mada masr, available on https://madamasr.com/en/2019/03/16/news/u/us-state-department-report-condemns-egypts-human-rights-violation-egypt-reject-it/amp/ 

[28]s Egypt military expenditure, trading economics, available on https://tradingeconomics.com/egypt/military-expenditure

[29] Previous study.

[30] Kamal Ahmed, previous study.

[31] The previous study.

[32] France 24, previous study.

[33] Walsh Declan, previous study.

[34] BBC Arabic, pervious study.

[35] Abo zed aymen,(fouda) announces the loss of tourism in Sharm el-sheikh after the fall of Russian plane, al Masry alyoum, Oct 2017, available on https://www.almasryalyoum.com/news/details/1208040

[36] Abd el-Hamid Ashraf, Egypt…suicide attack on Karnak temple in Luxor, al Arabiya, June 2015, available on https://www.aalarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/egypt/2015/06/10/  

[37] Ghosts city: Sinai residents are deposed after two years of genocide and displacement, el-aadasa, Sep 2017, available on https://thelenspost.com/2017/09/11

[38] The previous study.

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