For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:
Sinai – The descent into depravity
(Kindly consider “liking”, sharing, tweeting – please use hash-tag #IntoFray)
Ironically, the case of Sinai, once held up as the crowning vindication of the land-for-peace principle is likely to turn out to be its one of its most tragic and traumatic failures.
It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):
ISRAELI FRONTLINE: http://www.israelifrontline.com/2017/11/fray-sinai-descent-depravity.html
ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/21347
ISRAEL NEWS ONLINE: https://israelnewsonline.org/into-the-fray-sinai-the-descent-into-depravity/#.WiFAykqWY2x
ISRAEL RISING: https://www.israelrising.com/sinai-descent-depravity/
JERUSALEM HERALD: https://www.jerusalem-herald.com/single-post/2017/12/01/INTO-THE-FRAY-Sinai—The-Descent-Into-Depravity
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2017/12/01/fray-sinai-descent-depravity/
JEWISH PRESS (To be posted)
Several short excerpts:
Militants detonated a bomb inside a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday and then sprayed gunfire on panicked worshipers as they fled, killing at least 305 people and wounding at least 128 others. Officials called it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history. – New York Times, November 24, 2017.
The Sinai Peninsula with its strategic depth, mineral wealth and economic potential is now deteriorating into a lawless “no-go” region, rapidly falling under the control of the most ruthless extremists on the face of the globe. – INTO THE FRAY: Suicide Nation? August 11, 2011.
If the Egyptian authorities do not move quickly to crush the extremists and regain control, the Sinai Peninsula could soon become a separate Islamic emirate run by Salafis, Hamas and Al-Qaeda – Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone, August 5, 2011.
In my column last week, dealing with just how fortunate Israel was in not adopting the land-for-peace formula in the Golan, and detailing the deadly dangers that ensued from attempting to apply it elsewhere, I wrote: Sinai [is] now descending into the depravity and brutality of a jihadi-controlled no-man’s land — with no good options on the horizon
Tragically, almost at the exact time that the column was being posted, the grim prognosis was given gruesome corroboration. Reportedly over three dozen “militants”, attacked a mosque in Northern Sinai…Using explosives and automatic weapons, they cut down hundreds of worshipers including almost 30 children…
Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum
There is —or at least, there should be—little surprise at the advent of lawlessness and violent insurgency in one form or other in Sinai…After all, following the evacuation of the peninsula by the IDF under the terms of the 1979 peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, strict conditions for its demilitarization were imposed. For Israel, this was the central pillar of the entire peace accord and a critical element in its overall security…
… in the past Egypt has repeatedly asked Israel to consent to it deploying troops that exceed the stipulations of the peace treaty—including the introduction of tanks, helicopters and fighter planes. As a rule, Israel has agreed to such requests—and has even refrained from responding when increased deployments have been made without its prior approval.
Creeping remilitarization of Sinai
Clearly, this raises the specter of the creeping remilitarization of Sinai—a prospect which may be a little less troubling were it possible to ensure that al-Sisi or some likeminded successor were to continue to hold the reins of power in Egypt indefinitely. But this would be a highly imprudent hypothesis on which to base Israel’s long term strategic planning…
An excruciating dilemma?
This clearly raises several trenchant questions of crucial importance for Israel:
– If the Egyptian forces lack the tenacity and motivation to meet the challenge of containing the Islamist aggression, what will be the fate of all the excess weaponry introduced into Sinai to defeat them?
– What if these weapons, like the US arms in Iraq, fall to the insurgents—then to be turned against Israel?
– And if the jihadis turn their attention to Israeli targets, how is Israel to respond?..
The Muslim Brotherhood: “Down”, but not “out”
…while it is clear that the MB has been severely eviscerated and is obviously “down”, it would be more than ill-advised to consider it “out”… Accordingly…the prospect of a future regime-change can certainly not be discounted … nor can the ascendance of a successor regime, far less amenable—even vehemently inimical—to the Jewish state and its security.
Ethiopia: Egypt’s “elephant in the room”
Ethiopia, separated from Egypt’s southern border by Sudan, a vast country in its own right, is rarely bought up in the discussion of Sinai and future scenarios that may emerge…This is a grave omission! For Ethiopia, in many respects, is Egypt’s “elephant in the room”…[A] clash with Addis Ababa is likely to siphon off huge resources from other activities in Egypt, leaving it with scant means—and motivation—to quell the insurgency in Sinai…
The writing on the wall
For Israel then, the writing is on the wall. For as I wrote back in August 2011, the country may well have to face an emerging lose-lose strategic predicament ,which will force it to decide between:
– Allowing Sinai to degenerate into an Afghanistan-like haven for al-Qaida and ISIS-like jihadi organizations; or
– Allowing a possibly hostile Egypt to remilitarize the area in an attempt to reestablish law and order; or
-Reasserting Israeli control of Sinai, effectively repudiating the peace agreement with Cairo.
So, ironically, the case of Sinai, once held up as the crowing vindication of the land-for-peace principle, may yet turn out to be one of its most tragic and traumatic failures.