Why have Jihadists failed at implementing the Daesh “approach” in Sinai?

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My translation of some solid analysis on a major CT issue by one of the Middle East’s top experts Egypt’s top experts:

The Failure of the Attempt to Implement the “Daesh” Theory/Approach in the Sinai Peninsula

Terrorism in the Sinai peninsula began suddenly in 2004 with the explosions in the border town of Taba killing and injuring hundreds. This repeated itself two times in the subsequent two years in Sharm Al-Sheikh and Dahab in Southern Sinai, killing dozens, and injuring hundreds, all of them civilians.

Egyptian authorities discovered at that time that a terrorist group known as Al-Tawheed and Jihad was the group behind these attacks. This happened to be the same name that had been taken by the more famous group in Iraq under the leadership of the well-known terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

It quickly became clear, and this was confirmed by security information, that the vicious terrorism in Sinai was connected in one form or another to regional and international terrorist groups.

This connection took an official form in the few months following the last Sinai attack, when the leadership of the principal terrorist organizations in Sinai announced their loyalty to the Al-Qaeda group, which was led by Osama Bin Laden, and the Egyptian terrorist and exile Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

After the “Brothers” took power in Egypt in 2012 and 2013 and subsequently were deposed in a revolution by the Egyptian people, two important developments took place regarding terrorism in the Sinai.  First, they almost completely stopped operations in the regions of Southern Sinai, and moved to focus on North East Sinai, in particular the Rafah and Al-Sheikh Zayyoud and Areesh.

The second key development was the announcement by the new group that commited most of the terrorist operations, “Ansar Beit Al-Maqqadiss,” of its pledge of loyalty to the Deash organization, whose leaders were located in Iraq.

Since announcing its loyalty to Daesh, and naming itself “Wilayet Sinai”, this organization increased its activity during the following three years in the North East Sinai, focusing its operations against the Police and Army and the positions associated with them. It became clear from following the organization in Sinai that it strived to portray itself as a local branch, and copy of the model, of the mother organization in Iraq and Syria.

It became clear from following the group, and its activities, and social media, that it was aiming, unsuccessfully, to control any territory in North East Sinai, so that it could present itself to Egyptians, and to the world, as a legitimate province of a bigger nation, possessing territory and control over it.

In order to achieve that goal, and also to prevent the group from being broken up or experiencing a decisive defeat at the hands of the Army And Police, its operatives followed a strategy of mingling amongst the populations where it conducted its activities, a region of perhaps 50,000 people. The group attempted to implement the fundamental Daesh principle of (Remaining and Expanding ) over any territory, mimicking the facilities of a state it could claim, according to the basic principle of the group outlined in the book The Management of Savagery by Abu Bakr Naji, which is based on this very philosopy of (Remaining and Expanding) .

However, the attempt to implement the Daesh model failed miserably. The group couldn’t gain control of an inch of territory.  They couldn’t take over a single government building so that they could raise the flag of the mother organization and claim that building as territory for the state.

The group had no choice but to return to the traditional tactics of terrorist organizations, of attacking government forces or facilities, in a Hit and Run style. They have no ability to implement the basic approach of the Mother Organization which is to seize territory and then govern over it.

There were three core reasons for their inability to implement the Daesh approach in Sinai.

The first was the total rejection by the local populations and tribes of any control by this terrorist organization over them or their land and their complete cooperation with the Egyptian state to defeat them.

Second, the success of the Armed Forces in inflicting serious losses on them in their military operatioms.

The third reason was the wide spread divisions and defections with the rank and file and the leadership of the group, following the liquidation of the majority of the leadership and the taking out of their recruitment apparatus.

But most importantly, it was the complete rejection by the people of Sinai.


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