Fear and Loathing in the Sinai


First published in The Journal of International Security Affairs

Just weeks after overthrowing President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the Egyptian military launched a campaign against “violence and terrorism” in the country, featuring a large-scale crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Some 1,000 Egyptians protesting Morsi’s ouster at the hands of the Egyptian armed forces were killed  and thousands more injured. Today, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership has either fled the country or been thrown into jail, and the recently-banned group is looking defeated and desperate. Nevertheless, given the Egyptian military’s violent measures, it is likely that many Muslim Brotherhood supporters will turn to violence to achieve their political aims.

Egypt’s Coptic Christian minorities are already feeling the full force of the recent violence; more than 30 churches were set afire in the months that have followed the military “coup.” Another front has opened as well. Frustrated Islamists are flocking to the North Sinai to establish a base among jihadist groups already operating there, dramatically expanding the threat of terrorism against the Egyptian state. While the military launched its largest crackdown against the terrorist threat in August, the threat remains real.

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