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Report: Rising al-Qaeda presence in Sinai Peninsula is a growing threat to Egypt and Israel

Al Qaeda training manual found in Afghanistan in 2001. Photo courtesy of the the US Department of Defense.

A new Henry Jackson Society report – Terror in the Sinai – provides the first statistical analysis of its kind on the evolution of the terrorist threat in the Sinai since the Egyptian revolution three years ago.

Terror in the Sinai, launched today by the Henry Jackson Society, examines the terrorist threat coming from the Sinai Peninsula. The report assesses the presence of al-Qaeda and its ideology in the Sinai, emerging ties between Salafi-jihadist groups and local Bedouins, and the successes and failures of the Egyptian army’s recent military efforts in confronting the threat. It finds strong indications of an influx of foreign fighters and weapons into the Sinai and a threat against the Egyptian state and Israel that is more co-ordinated and sophisticated than ever before.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Rate of attacks: Mohamed Morsi’s removal from power in mid-2013 sparked a fifteen-fold increase in militant attacks. During the first three months of 2014, the rate of attacks has risen six-fold in comparison to the same period last year.
  • Type of attacks: Attacks launched from the Sinai are becoming more organized and sophisticated, with groups increasingly using the peninsula as a launchpad to target the Egyptian mainland. Groups are also increasingly favouring al-Qaeda-style methods: so far in 2014, bombings have overtaken shootings as the most common type of attack (rising from 18% in 2013 to 54% during the first three months of 2014).
  • Location of Attacks: 20% of attacks attributed to groups active in the Sinai have taken place in Cairo this year (up from 2% in 2013). As 2014 progresses, bomb attacks are increasingly likely to take place in Cairo and other major cities in Egypt.
  • Al-Qaeda’s presence in the Sinai: Militant groups in the Sinai appear to be increasingly adopting al-Qaeda ideology. There are also strong indications that al-Qaeda central (AQ), Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are attempting to make inroads into the peninsula.
  • Foreign fighters: Individuals from Yemen, Somalia, the Sudan, Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Afghanistan are reported to have travelled to the Sinai in order to join armed groups.
  • Arms: Weapons are believed to be falling into the hands of militant groups in the Sinai through smuggling routes from Libya, the Sudan, the Gaza Strip and Iran. Moreover, Hamas reportedly operates warehouses, rocket-production facilities and factories in the peninsula.
  • Threat to Israel: Since 2010, groups operating in the peninsula have targeted Israel at least 19 times, including a group named the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, which stated that its obligation from God is to attack Jews as “unbelievers”. Additionally, ongoing attacks to the natural-gas pipeline connecting Israel to Egypt have cost an estimated $166 million.
  • Bedouin-jihadist ties: The government’s deteriorating relationship with the Sinai’s Bedouin tribes appears to be increasing the overlap between Bedouin youths and Salafi-jihadist ideology and activity.
  • Military action: The Egyptian army’s recent military operations in the Sinai – despite its claims of successful arrests and killings of militants – do not appear to have effectively curbed the terrorist threat in the peninsula.

Oren Kessler, Henry Jackson Society Research Fellow and co-author of the report, said:

“Salafi-jihadist militant groups – some of whom appear to include fighters from abroad – are increasingly using the peninsula as a key base of operations. With Egypt’s elections approachingattacks against political and military figures on the Egyptian mainland – as well as cross-border strikes against Israel – pose a greater threat than ever before.”

Mohannad Sabry, a Cairo-based journalist, said:

“Terror in the Sinai shows that Egypt’s terrorist threat is not going away anytime soon, rather, it is poised to grow far beyond its current state. Thoughtful and nuanced analysis is therefore urgently needed for decision-makers to effectively confront and contain the ongoing crisis. This report is an invaluable contribution to that effort.”

Terror in the Sinai [full page]

For a larger view click on the infographic.

‘Terror in the Sinai’ is available to download here.

HJS’s work on terrorism and Egypt includes:

  • Terrorism and Islamism in the MENA Region, March 2014, available here
  • The Presumption of Innocence: Difficulties in Bringing Suspected Terrorists to Trial, Robin Simcox, December 2013, available here
  • Al-Qaeda’s Global Footprint: An Assessment of Al-Qaeda’s Strength Today, Robin Simcox, September 2013, available here
  • Al-Qaeda in the United States – A Complete Analysis of Terrorism Offenses, February 2013, Emily Dyer and Robin Simcox, available here

RELATED STORY: Judicial Watch: DHS may have special “hands off” terrorist list​

Alarming video: Al Qaeda growing and taking “a new approach to death”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/vRL0tNpA19U[/youtube]

Remember, when President Obama said “Osama bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is decimated and on the run?” If it weren’t for the fawning liberal progressive media, that statement could have been the “Lie of the Year” for 2012.

According to a CNN report,

The terror group’s manpower has increased in recent years, it has gained control of more territory in North Africa and the Middle East and is taking a different approach to death. While al Qaeda suffered significant setbacks after Navy SEALs shot and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, and drone strikes have taken out top terrorists along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the terror group and its close allies have rebounded in Yemen, the Sinai region of Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and parts of east and west Africa, among other places. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, headquartered in Yemen, is particularly concerning.

CNN says sources have uncovered chatter that suggests “active plotting” and there are there are multiple indications that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is plotting attacks both within Yemen, against U.S. and Western structures and overseas,” according to Seth Jones, an analyst at Rand Corp.

If none of that concerns you, watch this video, which was released on Christmas Day. It calls for al Qaeda sympathizers to take things into their own hands and launch attacks in the West. In the two minute intro the speaker says, “We pray to Allah that the example set by Nidal Hassan becomes a source of inspiration for all Muslims.”

One year after the reelection of Barack Hussein Obama, Islamic totalitarians are not decimated and not on the run, but are stronger. No doubt Afghanistan will follow suit, if this is the paradigm for the Obama administration. The Middle East has been completely destabilized and with the current incursion into Southern Sudan by President Obama, one has to be concerned that it too will be destabilized, as was Libya.

This is what happens when the media is subjective rather than objective in analysis or telling the truth to the American people. But it’s too late now. We still face three more years of a failing Obama and a foreign policy that entices and emboldens our enemies. Weakness is intoxicating, and Islamic terrorists are drunk right now.

The next American president must be able to lead and command fear and respect from our enemies. Some may read this and say, “at this point in time what difference does it make?” But for those who’ve been on the receiving end of an AK-47, for those who will have to fight this resurgent enemy, and for those who will lose their lives in the next terrorist attack, it makes a doggone lot of difference.

This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

Egypt Declares Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization! Will the US follow?

After a powerful devastating suicide bombing that tore apart a police station in Mansoura, Egypt on Tuesday Egypt’s interim government Wednesday declared the Muslim Brotherhood (MB),  a terrorist organization.  An Al Qaeda affiliated group that claimed responsibility for the Mansoura bombing suggested  further retribution would befall Egyptian military who did not desert. The MB has reverted to violence that it had forsworn before the in June 2012 election of former President Mohammed Morsi. Morsi, along with hundreds of other MB leaders were jailed following the July 3, 2013 ouster by the Egyptian interim government. They are being brought to trial on charges of conspiracy and incitement to commit violence.

The AP report, “Egypt names Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group” noted the background that led to Egypt’s declaration  Wednesday:

Egypt’s military-backed interim government on Wednesday declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, criminalizing all its activities, its financing and even membership to the group from which the country’s ousted president hails.

The announcement is aimed at crippling the Brotherhood and poses a dramatic escalation of the fight between the government and group, which has waged near-daily protests since the July 3 popularly backed military coup that toppled President Mohammed Morsi.

Hossam Eissa, the Minister of Higher Education… said that the decision was in response to Tuesday’s deadly bombing targeting a police headquarters in a Nile Delta city which killed 16 people and wounded more than 100. The Brotherhood has denied being responsible for Mansoura attack and an al-Qaida inspired group on Wednesday has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.

“Egypt was horrified from north to south by the hideous crime committed by the Muslim Brotherhood group,” Eissa said. “It’s not possible for Egypt, the state, nor Egyptian people to submit to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorism,” he added.

[…]

The decision comes after a sweeping decision Tuesday aimed at draining the Brotherhood’s finances by freezing funds of more than 1,000 non-government organizations with links to the group and putting more than 100 schools run by the group under government supervision. That directly attacks the grassroots strength of the Brotherhood, where it has much of its power in Egyptian life.

Earlier Wednesday, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, said in an online statement that it carried out the attack Tuesday on the Mansoura police headquarters. The attack  was  to avenge the “shedding of innocent Muslim blood” at the hands of Egypt’s “apostate regime” — a reference to the security forces’ crackdown on Islamists following the July coup.

To any who knows the violent history of the MB since its founding in Ismailia in 1928 by Hassan al Banna, this comes as no surprise. A supporter of Hitler and the Nazis, al Banna established a virtual underground army trained and equipped with arms, and  its own intelligence service . The MB supported Haj Amin al Husseini during the 1930’s Arab Riots in the pre-state of Israel British Mandatory Palestine. When Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha “disbanded the group in December 1948 — seizing its assets and incarcerating many of its members he was assassinated by a member of the Brotherhood.” Al Banna was assassinated by agents of the Egyptian government in February 1949 following the murder of Premier Pasha. Later Egyptian President Nasser had members of the MB jailed after an assassination attempt on his life in 1954. Nasser brought to trial and executed Sayyid Qtub, an MB extremist whose violent anti-Western and infidel ideology provided the foundation of the Jihad doctrine of al Qaeda.

What is surprising is the US has supported the MB initiative in both Egypt and here.  Right now, it is back to the future in Cairo.

What prevents the Administration from following the example of the Egyptian interim government here in the US?  It could begin by sacking those agents of the MB who have penetrated our government starting with Mohamed Elibiary who  is  on the US Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) Advisory Panel.  Elibiary has visibly demonstrated support for the MB. Note this excerpt from a Bare Naked Islam  post in September 2013:

R4BIA symbolPerhaps the most distinctive feature of Elibiary’s Twitter profile photo is the black four-finger salute on yellow background located on the lower right.

The MB adopted the logo to symbolize the Aug. 14 “martyrdom” of pro-Morsi demonstrators in Cairo, according to FrontPage Magazine.

If his sympathies were still in doubt, on Sept. 6, Elibiary re-tweeted a photo “with love” depicting a Cairo pro-Motherhood Brotherhood rally as it made its way on a bridge crossing the Nile.

According to Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism there are five others who are allied the MB in America that have been granted positions in the Administration. They include:  Arif Alikhan, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at USDHS, Rashad Hussein, former White House Deputy Counsel and now Special Envoy to the Saudi – backed Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Salam al-Maryati of MPACT, Islamic Society of North America President Mohamed Magid and Eboo Patel on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. Given what occurred in Cairo Wednesday, perhaps Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security can conduct long delayed investigative hearings about MB penetration of our government.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.