Problems on hold
My heart goes out to Egypt’s political and military leadership as they heroically confront terrorist strikes that persistently target the country, its standing and prestige. One of the most vicious such attacks took place last week against a military point south of Rafah in North Sinai, close to the Gaza border. Two explosive-packed trucks rammed into the military camp; the blast claimed the lives of 23 Egyptian soldiers. A direct counterattack by the Egyptian air force killed some 40 IS (Islamic State) militants and destroyed six of their vehicles. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Political analysts agreed that the terrorist attack was masterminded by States that foster terrorism in the region; topping the list is Qatar. Fingers also pointed at Hamas, Gaza’s hub of evil. On the day following the attack, the Cairo State-owned daily al-Ahram published a quote by Major General Adel al-Omda of Nasser Military Academy, which reminded of a meeting that took place between a Qatari official and Hamas leaders prior to the attack.
Hamas’s name has for long been connected with the terrorism that has scorched Egypt since the massive revolution by its people on 30 June 2013 led to the overthrow of the Islamist regime which had come to power in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring. Throughout these years Hamas has been mired in the smuggling of arms and heavy weapons through the tunnels of evil it dug between Sinai and Gaza. The tunnels were notorious for trafficking smuggled Egyptian goods into Gaza, and for running terrorists, heavy arms, military equipment, and ammunition from Gaza into Sinai. The terrorists were then in a position to wage their notorious recurrent blows against Egypt’s army and police in a filthy guerrilla war beside which traditional war looked like child’s play. The Egyptian military repeatedly demolished tunnels, only for Hamas affiliates to dig others. Time and again we thought that the military had eradicated the arteries of evil flowing into our land but Hamas would again sting, defying Egyptian authority and waging attack after attack during which our valiant soldiers would heroically sacrifice their lives to defend their nation.
Gripped by fury at the vicious wickedness inflicted upon them by their northeast neighbours, Egyptians often wondered till when would their leadership exercise patience vis-à-vis the evil lurking from that quarter. Till when would the Hamas file that brims with malevolence and vice remain placed on hold while the perpetrators of the violence, funded by those in charge of the strongholds of terrorism, escape retribution? Till when will Egypt’s leadership maintain self-restraint and refrain from calling a spade a spade as regards those who assault our border, threaten our national security, and challenge our armed forces?
I do not hold the answers to these questions, yet I have full confidence in the wisdom and shrewdness of Egypt’s political and military leadership. Although some might think that the State is dragging its feet, I believe that political or military confrontation is generally subject to precise calculations that take into consideration the various elements that determine the most astute conditions in time and place to strike. Only then can Egypt direct a conclusive payback hit to the reckless gang prowling on our northeast border. I fully trust that the much-anticipated blow which would eradicate the forces of evil exported to us by Gaza would also expose the terrorist forces that support and fund them. Egypt would then put the world before its responsibility of seriously and actively confronting terrorism, rather than the mere hollow rhetoric the world is currently exercising on that front.
I absolutely trust that the seemingly cautious pace at which the Egyptian leadership is tackling the terrorism at its border, and the fact that it has not yet attacked the cancerous lumps feeding on the Egyptian body, is not owing to lack of competence, but because the decision and timing to perform such an operation is a decision of sound intellect rather than physical might.
16 July 2017