Egypt Arrests Al-Qa'ida Infiltrators Seeking To Revive Activities There

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The security source went on to say that the security organs in the Egyptian Interior Ministry, at the head of them the national security sector (which was established recently after state security intelligence service was disbanded) were able to identify most members of this terrorist organization, adding that due to the tribal nature of northern Sinai which makes the security mission impossible without the tribal leaders, consultations are at present underway with the notables and heads of the Sinai tribes in order to collate the information that enables the security services to arrest members of the organization as quickly as possible.

The source added that Egyptian Interior Minister Major General Mansur al-Isawi has seen the plan prepared by the security organs in the northern Sinai Security Directorate in coordination with combat groups from the Central Security Forces and the armed forces for confronting the lawlessness in northern Sinai and putting an end to it. Only the final touches remain for implementing it immediately and restore security and stability in the Sinai Street. [Passage omitted on recent bombing of gas pipeline and attacks on police stations]

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -- Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL:]

Egypt: Sinai 'Almost Becoming Salafi Emirate'--Al-Wafd Column

GMP20110812013004 Cairo Al-Wafd in Arabic 12 Aug 11 p 16

[Article by Muhammad Amin in the "Where to?" column: "I am the Government, O Country!"]

Do you remember the [motion picture] "Satan's Island"? This was about a territory colonized by one of the most notorious criminals in Southern Egypt. He mined it and banned the entry of the government in it. He said "I am the Government". No one could enter the island without the permission of its ruler. Do you remember how this island turned into a ball of fire? This criminal, who was tried and executed, could not have done what he did if it had not been for the fact that he was backed at one time by senior commanders in the Interior Ministry. Do you remember this motion picture or TV serial? It is being repeated these very days!

I am talking about the land of the sapphires [Sinai] which has almost turned into a land of fear. I am talking about the land of the martyrs that has turned into a land of ruins. In Satan's Island there was a form of collusion. In the land of fear there appears to be a form of collusion also. In Satan's Island, the Egyptian State moved to avenge its dignity and impose its respect after Satan had rubbed its nose in the dirt. Now the Egyptian State must move to regain its respect and dignity, just as it regained the land, even if this has to be done by war and moving armies.

The reports reaching us say that Sinai is almost being transformed into a Salafi emirate. What happened cannot be met by silence. This is a systematic, organized absence of the State's role, a complete disappearance of the government and the police. There is very organized appearance by the Salafi Group. A surprise press conference is held in which not all political forces are represented. Armed militias are formed to maintain security and break up conflicts with force. These are the harbingers of a Salafi emirate in Sinai which will probably not be the last emirate under the shadow of the security conditions in the country.

There is a major difference between the role of the popular committees formed after the [ 25 January] revolution to protect possessions and properties and what the Salafis are now doing in Sinai. The popular committees were Egyptian and represented all Egyptians. But what happened in Sinai provides no cause for assurance even if it is done ostensibly to regain security. The Salafis formed religious committees to solve conflicts in Sinai and enlisted the aid of 6,000 armed men to apply verdicts by force.

Why Sinai? Why did the Salafi emirate start from there? Is Sinai destined to be under either Israeli or Salafi rule? Did we liberate Sinai so that a faction could seize it? Is there a connection between HAMAS and what took place in Sinai with such speed? Is it an old plan or a result of the security breakdown after the revolution? What is the aim behind moving the Salafis there in particular?

We are thus facing a Salafi emirate in Sinai headed by Emir Sulayman Abu-Ayub. There is no presence in it for the State's civil establishments, neither police nor judiciary. The judiciary is self-made and the police are self-made. The verdicts replace the traditional system of tribal councils in Sinai. The borders of the new emirate are Rafah, Shaykh Zuwayd, and Al-Arish. There is no Governor and no municipal chief, no police chief and no court. So it is over, our Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Sinai has been lost!

Where are the security bodies on what is going on? How did these people get weapons? Correspondents also say that the streets of Al-Arish witness heavy shooting due to a quarrel between two families. The streets see an unprecedented security breakdown because tens of the youths of Al-Fawakhiriya Tribe are firing at random on vehicles near the houses of Al-Bik Family. According to eyewitnesses, the youths carry Molotov bottles and fire intensely amid attempts by mosque shaykhs to calm them through microphones.

There is a difference of course between the Salafi condition and Al-Fawakhiriya condition. The latter is a transient phenomenon that occurs in tribal communities at times. But the Salafi condition is organized, sustained, and terri fying. Still, the two conditions reflect the absence of the State and the breakdown of security. They require the presence of the State to regain its respect immediately. The alternative is a cancerous spread of Salafi emirates in all parts of Egypt!

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Wafd in Arabic -- Nationalist liberal New Wafd Party's daily newspaper; usually highlights statements of the party's leader; critical of newly formed parties and has a strong tendency toward sensationalism, especially with regard to allegations of corruption during the Mubarak era.]

Egypt: Sinai Governor Says Largescale Security Deployment 'Only for Deterrence'

GMP20110814950006 Cairo Nahdat Misr Online in Arabic 14 Aug 11

['Exclusive' report: "Security reinforcements in Sinai to prevent new attacks on al-Arish; deployment of armored vehicles and 2000 soldiers"]

Unprecedented security reinforcements were taken in Sinai after deploying police forces backed up by army forces.

Armored vehicles and more then 2000 policemen and soldiers were seen during their deployment around police stations, the governorate premises, the security directorate of North Sinai in Al-Arish city in fear of new attacks by outlaws, thugs and extremist groups.

Sinai Governor Major General Al-Sayyid Abd-al-Wahab Mabruk said these unprecedented security measures were meant to defend people, property and vital establishments.

These forces are being deployed to deter and not to fight or attack anybody, he said. "We will not fight our people in Sinai, and these forces will not go to Sinai's mountains to fight. They are only for deterrence to protect souls and property from outlaws and thugs," he said.

The governor warned that there would be no tolerance for any who "attack people or property or carry out thuggery or acts of sedition in Sinai."

The governor denied that there was a campaign codenamed "eagle." "There are no such campaigns. Such reports are mere hallucinations," he said.

[Description of Source: Cairo Nahdat Misr Online in Arabic -- Website of independent pro-reform daily newspaper whose editorial line was moderately critical of the Mubarak government prior to the 25 January 2011 uprising; focuses on domestic affairs; URL:]

FYI -- Egypt Arrests Six Wanted Persons of Islam Liberation Army in Sinai

GMP20110815950004 Cairo Nile News TV in Arabic 0615 GMT 15 Aug 11

Cairo Nile News TV in Arabic at 0615 GMT on 15 August ran an urgent caption quoting its correspondent that said: "Six wanted persons who belong to the Islam liberation army were arrested during the army's campaigns in Al-Arish."

No further processing planned.

[Description of Source: Cairo Nile News TV in Arabic -- 24-hour pan-Arab news-oriented TV station]

Xinhua: One Killed, 10 Arrested in Raid on Extremist Group in Egypt's Sinai

CPP20110815968248 Beijing Xinhua in English 1819 GMT 15 Aug 11

[Xinhua: "One Killed, 10 Arrested in Raid on Extremist Group in Egypt's Sinai"]

[Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention]

CAIRO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- One was killed and 10 others arrested in a raid by military and police forces in Egypt's Sinai, security sources told Xinhua on Monday.

Around 1,000 troops and police were deployed in Egypt's Arish over the weekend to restore order in the area which has seen repeated attacks on a gas pipeline leading to Israel and Jordan.

Militants called for changing Sinai into an Islamic zone and expelling security forces recently in the Arish town.

Since February, the pipeline for gas exports in Arish has been bombed five times. At the end of July, more than 100 militants attempted to storm a police station in Arish and exchanged fire with police and military forces, leaving six people dead.

[Description of Source: Beijing Xinhua in English -- China's official news service for English-language audiences (New China News Agency)]

Egypt|: 'Islamic Egypt Emirate' feard in Sinai, Given Preoccupation with Tahrir

GMP20110814013003 Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic 14 Aug 11 p 11

[Article by Hazim Abd-al-Rahman: "They are Challenging the State"]

It is a gross mistake that we see nothing except what is happening in Tahrir Square. It is true that what is happening there affects all of Egypt, but it is also true that what is happening outside Tahrir Square could be much more dangerous than what is taking place in it. Actually, the key to control of the Square could be outside Cairo.

The newspaper Al-Misri al-Yawm published an extremely important report about the Salafi group organization in Sinai. The report which appeared last Wednesday says: "The group has formed multi-level Shari'a committees to settle disputes through rulings based on Shari'a. Their aim is to replace the "sinful" traditional tribal councils to which the Sinai tribes are used to resort to settle any disputes that might crop up.

The report said the committees work by counseling, persuasion and rationality. But if circumstances compel them then they are ready to use force to impose their point of view. It said that the grouping has between five to six thousand armed followers (militias) that can be called upon when necessary, but it hastened to say that once the police returns to its normal condition the grouping will withdraw and leave the field to the police (who will believe that?). it said that they are forced to do what they are doing because no government exists in Sinai!

Thus it is clear that this tells us there is a stark challenge coming to face the State. In the manner in which it is presenting itself, and with its ability to boast publicly that it would use force against those who oppose or reject it, or even impose its opinion in any dispute, the group is in effect taking over the role of the State. The State is supposed to be the sole authority in society which has the right to monopolize use of weapons and formation of armed entities represented in the Army, the Police and the National Guard. Any other party that does this would be engaging in an organized criminal endeavor aggressing on the State. It would be an armed gang, no matter how much it cloaks itself in religion, grows beards, wears white galabiya [flowing white gown], and holds prayers etc. The strong state is the one that never shows leniency toward any one who tries to transgress on its powers whoever he is.

Perhaps this grouping has some justification in what it is doing on the claim that there is no police available or the paucity of their number compared to what is required. It would therefore be responding to a dire need for security that the Sinai citizen lacks painfully in the cities of Rafah, Al-Arish and Shaykh Zuwayd. This has gone to the extent that Salafi militias are brazenly striding the roads in broad daylight.

But if that were correct, then what is the North Sinai Security Directorate doing? What is the Governorate doing? What is its role exactly if this grouping has usurped for itself the role of the police and of imposing order and law? There is nothing left except for this grouping to issue "communique number one" announcing the creation of the Islamic Emirate of Sinai.

These words are not meant in way as instigation, for according to the Prophet's [Muhammad] sayings, there are issues that are serious and cannot bear any frivolity or laxity under any circumstances. Among these is the issue of imposing security and the rule of the law on all so that the people arbitrate to it. If such a grouping emerged to say publicly that it will assume that task instead of the Egyptian State, then what will remain for the State?

These words also remind us of what the Muslim Brotherhood declared some weeks ago in graduating batches of Shari'a judges whose task is to rule among the inhabitants in the villages of Egypt. Thus these judges are also usurping the role of the judicial authority. So what is left of the State?

I fear that we shall keep busy in Cairo with what is happening at Tahrir Square till we wake up one morning to find the radio and th e television announcing the establishment of The Emirate of Islamic Egypt.

It remains to be said that Egypt is always for the Egyptians. Across their long history, the Egyptians changed their religions many times whereas they never relinquished even once their Egyptian affiliation. Relations with the homeland are stronger, firmer and older than any other relationship.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic -- State-controlled daily newspaper of record, formerly pro-Mubarak but has now shifted support to the 2011 revolution; reportedly Egypt's highest circulation daily, Al-Ahram controls the distribution of all other newspapers, state-run and independent alike.]

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