January 13, 2015 · 5:31 pm
Bl0g 234 January 12, 2014
The headlines are ablaze with the story of the Islamic terrorists attacks in France. The Middle East war has boiled over and the French are not taking the assaults sitting down. However, in these blogs I attempt to go behind the headlines and keep readers informed about the untold situations. Consequently, I will not explore the Middle Eastern terrorists story today. The media is already covering the story well.
While Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi is firmly in control, jihadists element continue in the country. Recently, the most lethal group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis released a 30 minute video showing their attack that killed 31 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. Following the suicide bombing that initiated the assaults, radicals rushed in with guns blazing. Following this incident, Sisi declared a three month national emergency.
The Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen groups are the latest jihadists organizations to spring up in the Sinai desert area. These groups consider themselves a part of the ISI army. In their video, the jidhadists released a message to Sisis, “we will be the sword that cuts off your head.” Their attacks are considered a retribution for the violent crackdown by Egyptian security forces on radicals. The best the jihadists can do is hit and run because the army will stay after them.
The Egyptian government pointed a finger at the Hamas rulers in Gaza as supporting this terrorist element. Because Hamas grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, they are naturally supportive of groups opposing the current Egyptian government. At the least, Hamas had done nothing to stop the operation of the jihadists in the Gaza area they control. More over, Hamas has supported building tunnels into the northern Sinai that allow smuggling goods and weapons back and forth. While the terrorist claim an ideological relationship with ISIS, they are actually more directly related to Hamas.
Who are these nomadic Islamic terrorist running around with military weapons? Mostly they are fundamentalist with a religious impetuous to kill people they consider infidels. The Islamic State movement is not actually in the Sinai area, but they have these supporters ready to join.
In Israel, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) just attacked with tank fire and airstrikes on targets in Gaza following Palestinian’s sniper fire. Gaza militants fired a rocket at Israel and the IDF immediately responded. Of course, the Gaza rocket assault was a direct violation of last summer’s cease fire agreement. The immediate response of Israel means that any such attacks will be met by a corresponding counter-attack from the IDF.
Trapped between Israel and Egypt, these new jihad movements are caught between fierce opponents that are capable of finishing them off.
November 9, 2013 · 9:54 pm
Like the endless TV show LAW AND ORDER, we can’t seem to get away from one channel of haunting installments of the latest in terrorism. Every week there’s a new episode of the awful pictures of what’s going on. This past week, America wiped out the Afghan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone attack. He was responsible for the December 2009 suicide bombing that killed seven Americans at the Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan as well as attacks in Pakistan that killed thousands of civilians and security forces.
Yeah! One for our side. Now let’s see who “they” kill next. (You understand that I’m joshing – not meant to be taken literally)
Another aspect of the story has just been uncovered in Israel where the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) uncovered a tunnel running from the Gaza Strip across the border into Israel near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. Such a tunnel could have been used to abduct Israeli soldiers just as Palestinian militants did with Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006.
A group of journalists toured the tunnel and found they could stand upright. The tunnel had been equipped with electric lights and a telephone line. Ironically, the tunnel was constructed with Israeli concrete slabs the IDF had allowed into Gaza to ease the civilian crisis in the construction sector. Hamas must have invested tens of millions of dollars in constructing the tunnel.
The only conclusion that could be drawn was that the Hamas regime in Gaza cynically exploited the good intentions of Israel. Ah, the fun never stops! (Again, meant as a jest)
Why would Hamas make such an investment? The fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has placed them in a position of strategic deterioration. Currently, they are under pressure to make some aggressive gesture. This one failed.
Maj. General Sami Turgeman noted that if Hamas did attack, the IDF was ready and Hamas would pay a significant price. Prime Minister Netanyahu underscored that Israel maintains an aggressive policy against all forms of terrorism. The success of this approach is reflected in the fact that the past year has been one of the quietest in over a decade. Does this mean terrorism will stop? No.
Tragically, this form of violence has become part of the world scene and through the media seeps into American life. The truth is that we’ve all have more than enough. Can’t we find another channel?
August 10, 2013 · 8:46 pm
The amateur is quick to make assessments and projections about what comes next in the continuing struggle in the Middle East, but one must avoid being presumptive even after all the facts are in. The Arab world can change as fast as the spring winds reverse themselves. The better path is to maintain a continual watch for what happens next. Egypt is a prime example.
Interesting enough, the Egyptian military is forging a new alliance against Arab terrorist operating in the Sinai. The IDF (Israel Defense Force) and the Egyptian Army are together attempting to stop the terrorist attacks that are a problem for both countries. Perhaps, you will recall that Israel captured this entire area during the Yom Kippur war, but in a peace agreement with Egypt gave it back. It has since become a wild almost no-man’s land of bedouins firing rockets primarily at Israel.
As a result of the coup that brought Morsi down, violence against Egyptian security forces by Islamists has resulted in a deepening concern about attacks on Egypt. It is to the benefit of both countries to halt these assault. The new status of cooperation is an important sign for the future. It was generally recognized that Morsi, the deposed president, would eventually have abrogated the peace treaty with Israel. As it now stands, no one will have to face this problem.
As a matter of fact, renewed cooperation seems to be blossoming across the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are developing better relationships. With the exception of Qatar, connections are improving with Egypt across the region. These same relationships have been through a roller-coaster ride during the past few years. Saudi Arabia was deeply shocked when 16 of the 18 perpetrators of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers turned out to be from their country. They discovered that the Muslim Brotherhood had introduced Jihad and were raising young terrorist. As a result, the king expelled the Muslim Brotherhood in a way that both sides won’t forget.
On the other hand, Iran has been stung by the downfall of Morsi and further isolated. With tough Western sanctions strangling the country, their staunchest ally Bashar Assad is struggling to survive. When Assad called in Hezbollah, thousands of their best soldiers were killed. Even Hamas had to close its offices in Damascus. In Egypt, there has been a groundswell of support for non-Islamic movements. The bottom line is that the rise and fall of the Brotherhood will be a serious blow to Islamic terrorism and to Iran’s regional ambitions.
A year ago, Western interests had to be discouraged with what appeared to be ahead. At this point, the tides have turned and come back to shore. If we went back to the week after Morsi’s election, no one would have predicted that in a year, he’d be gone. But the winds shifted.
This past week Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement declaring the ouster was not a coup and money could keep coming from the USA to Egypt. Well, my, my, who would have thought America would wind with that position? Obviously, America is enthusiastic about the downfall of Morsi.
And so the story goes. Stay tuned. More on the 10:00 news.