Al-Jazeera broadcasts Part 2 of Sinai: The Silent Wars. Continuing reports of incidents between armed insurgents and the Egyptian military now further includes an investigation into the targeting of civilians in the Sinai by the Israeli Airforce in cooperation with Egypt’s armed forces.
Time delayed satellite images show the disappearance of entire residential neighborhoods, as well as large sweeps of agricultural land in the densely populated region Rafah, on Gaza’s border. The images also show barbed wire fences 6.5 kilometers from the border with the Gaza Strip, supposedly an greed-upon buffer zone.
This is the first part of Al-Jazeera’s documentary on the war in Sinai between the Egyptian army and insurgents. The two-part investigation covers the clashes between the Egyptian army and DAESH/Wilayat Sinai, documenting the army’s military strategy in a war that has been going on since 2013. The film highlights how the insurgency was originally a reaction by rings of cigarette smugglers to the disruption of their livelihood as the Egyptian army began its clearances in Rafah.
Military propaganda about the innocent victims killed Sinai and testimonies recorded with insurgents, leads to a picture of arbitrary arrests, assassinations and extrajudicial killings of civilians in the field. The 9th February 2018 launch of a new military operation in Sinai called the “comprehensive operation” began with the dismissal of army commander and Egyptian Defense Minister Sadqi Sobhi, famous for being second in command in the Junta that overthrew the legitimate government of Egypt in 2013.
Jared Kushner’s idea that bribing Gazans with jobs in industrial sites built in North Sinai with finance coerced out of the Saudis by the Trump administration, in order for them to agree to a peace deal which will lose them Jerusalem and all Palestinians the right of return, faces Palestinian ire at both the popular and governmental level – in fact- across the board.
The fifteenth week of the Great March of Return culminates today, Friday, with “Down with the Deal of Century” day to express the disdain of Palestinians for the proffered bribe. It is hard to see how this coiled Trumpist monstrosity can succeed if the Palestinians don’t sign on the dotted line. It is also hard to see Egyptian tyrant Sisi accepting the project.
As much as Sisi wants Israeli support for his bloody rule, the proposals will have implications he won’t exactly relish. A new destabilising factor would come wrapped in the proposed new industrial sites that are nothing other than an extension of the penal colony that is Gaza into Egypt, for which Egypt would be totally responsible. If the project goes through, the Gazans and their leaders (Hamas) will be able to avail themselves of a new influence on different levels of the Egyptian state.
Furthermore, Sisi’s sale of the Islands of Tiran and Sanafir, two small desert islands, to Saudi Arabia, lost him a good deal of support amongst his base. Besides the problem of having to take responsibility for an effective expansion of Gaza into North Sinai, therefore, the Tiran and Sanafir precedent, was a warning to Sisi from such supporters as he still has in Egypt, which he looks like he is taking on board. He seems to be quietly encouraging the Palestinian rejection of the plan to bail him out of having to do the bidding of Trump, Kushner, and Netanhayu.
Not far away from this ancient olive grove, fighters whose families were displaced from northern Sinai towns on the Israeli border razed to the ground, assaulted St Catherine’s Monastery. This happened only two weeks ago. It was supposedly an attack by “ISIS” and so justification for continued burning, looting, raping and killing by Egyptian militias now specially formed by junta leader Sisi for the purpose. The Egyptian army itself has lost the appetite for the level of destruction meted on the Sinai tribes. But like the Yemeni tribes, the people of Sinai have even greater appetite for resistance than their psychopathic aggressors.