When does low intensity conflict become an insurgency?
As a land bridge between Asia and Africa, Sinai is full of jagged mountains and vast sand plateaus, making it harsh terrain to say the least. It’s a notoriously lawless area that has become the playground of smugglers, who like to say that they follow “ancient true laws” rather than “modern state laws.”
Last month, the Egyptian army launched an offensive in Sinai aimed at wiping out militant groups that have taken hold in the peninsula. Their campaign targeted a number of different groups, ranging from Islamists who support the Muslim Brotherhood and recently ousted president Mohammed Morsi, to hardline groups linked to al-Qaeda who have ties to Syria, Gaza, and Libya, as well as Bedouin tribesmen long discontented with the Egyptian regime.
Egyptian media reported that more than 100 alleged militants and three Egyptian soldiers were killed in the offensive. But the offensive seems to have done little but spur the insurgency on. In addition to the twin car bombings, last week, Egypt’s interior minister narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when a car bomb tore through his convoy wounding 22 people on a busy Cairo street. A Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Bayt al Maqdes claimed responsibility for the attack and said it would release a video. And another Sinai-based group, the al Furqan Brigades released a separate video showing them trying to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at a container ship in the Suez canal last month.
Over the last three months, Little Satan has granted the Egyptian military special permission to enter Sinai and pursue militants there. According to the peace treaty between the two countries, Egypt has to receive approval from Little Satan if it wants to exceed a certain quota of troops or tanks in the peninsula.
Pic - "Drones Over Sinai"