Egyptian Military Needs to Update Its Strategy Against Jihadis

(Cipher Brief) Eric Trager - The Egyptian military began a major operation against jihadis in northern Sinai in September 2013. A steady stream of attacks suggests that the operation is failing. Some 2,000 Egyptian soldiers have been killed in Sinai since the operation began - a shocking figure, considering that estimates of ISIS membership in Sinai are 1,000-1,500. While the Egyptian military effectively decapitated ISIS' Sinai leadership in the summer of 2016, new leadership has emerged that appears to be more intimately connected to ISIS' central leadership based in Raqqa, Syria. As a result, ISIS is increasingly targeting Egyptian Christians. Egypt's brass continues to believe that it can use heavy force to "contain" the jihadis, while eschewing more targeted counterinsurgency techniques. So rather than mobilizing Sinai's civilian population to identify and fight the terrorists, the Egyptian military's broad-based repression has alienated core Sinai constituencies, including some prominent Bedouin families, which have refused to cooperate with security forces until their relatives are released from prison. The writer is a fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2017-04-12 00:00:00

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