Who is behind the attacks in Egypt?

Terrorists ruined the chance to celebrate Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s first year in power, while the Egyptian media was preoccupied with the assassination of the attorney general and the explosions that followed in Sinai. Will this situation recede with time, or is this the beginning of a massive war?

Considering the nature of Egyptian civil society, we know that violence does not win. The state will not be blamed if it launches an expanded war against armed opposition and opposition affiliated with it, especially amid popular demands to send those behind terror attacks to the gallows.

It is inevitable that Salafist jihadist groups and armed Muslim Brotherhood wings will fail in their battle

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Over the course of 50 years, armed groups never won a single battle in Egypt. It is inevitable that Salafist jihadist groups and armed Muslim Brotherhood wings will fail in their battle. However, no one has learned from recent history, and unfortunately a lot of blood will be shed in Egypt over power struggles.

Quality and magnitude of attacks

The quality and magnitude of attacks, from assassinating officials to terror attacks against the military in the Sinai, imply that there are groups and powers allied with the Egyptian armed opposition for the sake of altering the current regime. These parties think they are capable of toppling Sisi’s government by stirring as much chaos as possible to push people to take to the streets to demand change.

This may happen in other countries, but in Egypt there are old institutions, the army being the most prominent. No one but the army can control the street, and no power will be able to seize the Sinai or even part of it. In addition, there are no separatist, regional or sectarian powers such as in Iraq, Syria or Sudan.

Egypt has throughout history remained a united state located along the banks of the Nile River and run from the center, Cairo. The unity of the social fabric and the steadiness of the military make betting on change in Egypt a poor gamble that will only disturb the government, pain ordinary citizens, and harm the economy, investments and people’s livelihoods.

It is not surprising that the government is strict with the opposition, as there is a feeling that what is happening is not mere terrorist activity by mentally disturbed groups directed by other parties to seize power. We do not know if these accusations are just fears or actually facts. However, there is a feeling that this is a battle of survival, and the government will not hesitate to pursue extremists beyond its borders.

Meanwhile, the regional situation is volatile and threatens all countries. Libya is the wide gate from where extremists sneak, and from where arms are being transferred to Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 3, 2015.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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