Monday, August 19, 2013

Steel Sinai

Is it steel Sinai or steal Sinai?

Since 1979, Egypt's government has limited its Sinai sovereignty in exchange for US payoffs and peace with Israel. After Egyptian Army officers assassinated President Anwar Sadat, this detente was honored while Egypt's former Air Force Chief Marshal Hosni Mubarak held power as President. But when a democratically-elected government took control, the balance was threatened.

Doctrinal tension between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabi movement is also hugely inflammatory, with potential to further destabilize the dominance of the nearby House of Saud. The al-Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain may also be at risk.

Arab neighbors bicker. Absolute monarchs fear the disenfranchised. These conditions continue over thousands of years. The leader who would bridge these differences is under threat by those who thrive on Arab strife.

Now the Egyptian military has overthrown the Morsi government. A new generation of military leaders focus on snuffing domestic malcontents rather than on repelling foreign enemies. It may cost Egypt the Sinai.

Egyptian security forces in the Sinai have been under attack, by well-equipped forces unknown. The recent murder of 24 Egyptian policemen in the Sinai (link) has been prominently positioned after news of 36 detainees killed yesterday while in government custody in Cairo (link).

Very different forces now cause Egypt's havoc. Is a secular democratic Egypt possible? Whatever the case, our interference causes problems. Offering payoffs & future refuge to selected elites is morally criminal.

The European Union is reviewing its aid & loan supports in Egypt. Most important is accountability. Find the head of the viper. We must identify the people in power, and hold them to account.