In focus: Sinai 2018, the beginning of the end of terrorism

Galal Nassar
Thursday 15 Mar 2018

Without help or succumbing to pressure or colonial plots, Egypt has stood up strong on its own feet, confronting terrorism, protecting its identity and securing its national achievements

It has been five weeks since the start of Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 and the Egyptian Armed Forces have successfully utilised the media to make the people live the military operation blow by blow through daily statements accompanied with audio, video and photo coverage and accurate statistics.

This has prevented anyone from spreading rumours or fabricated news, and kept the morale of soldiers, officers and citizens high and supportive of military action against armed terrorist groups and their sponsors in North Sinai, on the western border, and in operations in the south, Delta, by air and by sea to protect the vital interests of the economy and the Egyptian state in its domestic and regional context.

According to experts, Operation Sinai 2018 has so far been successful in uprooting terrorism that had spread across the country since 2014.

Some 1,700 terrorist attacks took place, leaving death and destruction in their wake.

Statements by the military spokesman show the advanced training and infrastructural preparations of terrorists in Sinai, revealing extensive logistical support that is not possible without the support of hostile foreign state and intelligence agencies.

This debunks the lie that there is a regional and international desire to stamp out terrorism in the region, because all the intel about support for and actions by terrorist groups is on the desks of decision makers around the world as well as international and regional organisations, but they remain silent and conspire to allow matters to spiral.

Operations have shown that Egypt and its army gathered accurate intelligence and prepared for battle well.

They have destroyed large caches of weapons, ammunition, explosives, landmines, as well as dens, operation rooms, bunkers, broadcast stations, media centres, tunnels, four-wheel cars and motorcycles.

They also shut down all sources of weapons, logistical and combatant support by land, sea and air in a comprehensive confrontation described by distinguished military expert Major General Mohamed Al-Ghobari as the fourth and last phase of a strategy to combat terrorism.

Al-Ghobari told Al-Ahram newspaper that phase one began when terrorists infiltrated Sinai after the 25 January Revolution and began operating when there were few military units there.

The second phase was to prepare the world stage for extensive military operations in Sinai to remove this tumour from Egypt’s body.

Since the security clauses of the peace treaty with Israel prohibit increasing military presence, it was necessary to gain the support of the international community to carry out the operation, increase the Armed Forces’ presence and furnish them with advanced weapons, even if Israel did not agree.

The police and border guards were not enough to confront the growing danger, which meant there were many losses in army and police ranks, such as the attack on Karam Abu Salem, Al-Qawadees I and II and Battalion 101.

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s address at the UN in November 2017 was the climax in preparing the world stage to begin a massive military operation, when he announced that Egypt is and will continue fighting terrorism on behalf of the world after international efforts and organisations failed to end this threat, causing it to spread and threaten the very existence of states, peoples and nations.

The attack on Al-Rifaie checkpoint that killed 205 terrorists was the start of the third phase of aggressive responses by the Armed Forces that stunted the aspirations of terrorists and their financiers to establish an Islamic caliphate, similar to the one in Syria and Iraq.

Many were taken prisoner and made confessions that were useful for future operations, including Martyr’s Revenge I, II, III and IV, as well as flushing out Gabal Al-Halal to pave the way for phase four, Operation Sinai 2018, across Egypt.

Despite difficult economic conditions after the 25 January 2011 Revolution, a manufacturing slowdown, diminished state revenue and a drop in development rates, Egypt was able to dust itself off and quickly come back with an ambitious nationalist plan to revive the state and its institutions after they were hijacked during a dark period in our modern times when political Islam almost robbed the history and heritage of the oldest people in the world.

They almost desecrated this holy land to serve colonialist ambitions targeting regional countries by taking advantage of their need for justice and freedom.

Egypt focused on training and arming the military, diversifying its sources of armament to prepare for a historic moment and patriotic decision making that serves Egypt’s ultimate interests.

Egypt did not wait for anyone’s help or succumb to pressure or colonialist plots. It decided to embark on military action at a high economic and political cost. It decided to sacrifice its best men for the sake of protecting its land and sovereignty, and to follow its own path.

It took its own decisions and passed the laws necessary to empower it to move forward since this phase needs extraordinary measures and restricting some liberties common during ordinary and stable circumstances.

It is at war, even if domestic and foreign media fail to convey this message clearly, which has caused more criticism and violations of procedure.

It has put pressure on decision makers, but was countered by achievements on the ground focused on key accomplishments in development, mega projects and strategies that will propel Egypt to the ranks of major economic powers.

*This article was first published in Al-Ahram Weekly

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