Column – Franklin Lamb
The Sinai Peninsula may be in the process of joining the Arab and Islamic Resistance as this great awakening spreads inexorably across the region toppling Western imposed security states and replacing them with governments of greater popular legitimacy.
Is the Sinai Peninsula rejoining the resistance?
by Franklin Lamb | Beirut
August 15, 2012
The Sinai Peninsula may be in the process of joining the Arab and Islamic Resistance as this great awakening spreads inexorably across the region toppling Western imposed security states and replacing them with governments of greater popular legitimacy. This despite the fact last many view last week’s events at the border with occupied Palestine as simply terrorism. Egypt and other countries in the region are contributing to righting the historic wrong done to the Palestinian people as millions around the World are employing an increasing variety of resistance strategies in solidarity with this regions central cause of liberating Palestine from the crumbling but ultra-violent Zionist colonial project.
Historically, the 23,000 sq. mile triangular Sinai Peninsula has been an area of Resistance against a series of occupiers and despots since it was joined to Egypt during in Mamluk Sultanate (1260-1517) when the Ottoman sultan, Selim the Grim, won the Battles of Marj Dabiq and al-Raydaniyya, and added Egypt to the Ottoman Empire.
Following the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty‘s rule over the rest of Egypt in 1805, the Ottoman Porte, faced with increasing resistance from Sinai, transferred administration of the restive Peninsula to the Egyptian government, by this time under the control of the colonial power, the United Kingdom. The British occupied Egypt since 1882 and imposed the border in an almost straight line from Rafah on the Mediterranean to Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba which has remained the eastern border of Egypt. At the beginning of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Egyptian forces invaded Palestine from Sinai to support the Palestinian Resistance in their struggle against the imposed State of Israel.
Last week’s Sinai operation by “terrorists in Bedouin clothing” against the occupiers of Palestine resulted in the deaths of 16 Egyptian guards protecting the Israeli border as well as several of the Fedayeen, signals again that the lawless Sinai Peninsula may be returning to its historic role in confronting colonialism on Egypt’s border. The Egyptian people, if not yet fully their leaders are returning to their historic struggle to liberate Palestine and while terrorist acts occur, the historic trend appears clear.
The regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would purposefully undermine relationship between the Egyptian and Palestinian people. However, over the past 18 months, much of the Sinai has become more Resistance oriented, as police stations in the Sinai were dismantled, the gas line with Israel repeated severed, and Bedouin tribes and others began to stockpile weapons arriving from Libya and from Israel’s black market and elsewhere. The area is becoming a major Resistance base with fighters vowing to repel any attempt by the US and Israel to retain control.
No proof positive has been proffered to support a number of claims being made regarding those responsible for the Sinai attacks and other recent attacks against Israeli installations that number more than 30 just since last year’s Tahrir revolution. It may indeed be a pure act of terrorism and Zionist orchestrated ‘black flag’ operation. The investigation is evolving.
A spokesman for the Hamas government has claimed that the Sinai attack was an Israeli “attempt to tamper with Egyptian security and drive a wedge between the Egyptians and the residents of the Gaza Strip.” Tarek Zumar, a spokesman for the group, claimed that Israel was behind all recent terror attacks against the Egyptians “because it wants to make changes along its border with Egypt.” The day after the attack, and relying on its own intelligent sources, Hamas announced that: “This crime can be attributed to the Mossad, which has been seeking to abort the revolution since its inception and the proof of this is that it gave instructions to its Zionist citizens in Sinai to depart immediately a few days ago.”
An American critic of Israel’s influence over the U.S. Congress, who is an Assistant Staff Director on a Congressional Committee, emailed that “We are looking into what Israeli leaders knew about the Sinai attack and when they knew it, but no definite responsibility for this operation has been established.”
The Muslim Brotherhood has also blamed Mossad for the claimed terrorst attack.
One of the reasons the Egyptian public is increasingly calling for abolishing or at least re- negotiating the “Treaty of Shame” as the Camp David agreement is commonly known, is that Egyptian security forces in Sinai are not enough to protect the borders. Under Camp David’s “Peace Agreement” it is Israel, and not the Egyptian government who determines how many Egyptians security personnel can stand guard at Egypt’s border.
On 8/4/12, Egypt’s new pro-Palestinian President, Mohammad Morsi, responded to the attack by sacking the pro-Israeli intelligence chief Murad Muwafi, as well as the governor of Northern Sinai Abdel Wahab Mabrouk. The same day Mursi ordered his defense minister to relieve the head of the country’s military police, as his spokesman said to “turn a page” in the Palestinian struggle and also as a confidence building move in the face of a predicted Zionist campaign to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack. There has been a relentless campaign by Zionist leaders since Mubaraks ouster, to weaken the Egyptian public’s determination to isolate Israel and cancel their governments relations with the occupiers of Palestine.
Supporters of Morsi’s rival in the presidential election, Ahmed Shafik, a former air force commander, have called for Egyptians to rise up against the Brotherhood and President Morsi as a result of the Sinai operation. Such attacks underscore the divide between new pro-Palestinian government and the military, which continues to hold enormous political power and has limited the president’s authority.
This most recent operation comes only a week after Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya made a rare visit to Egypt to meet with Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi to discuss easing travel restrictions on Gaza imposed by Israel’s siege, restrictions respected by Mubarak for years. That meeting, coupled with Morsi meeting both Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian President Abbas last month, resulted in the opening the Rafah border for 12 hrs a day and increasing the daily limit on passengers from Gaza to 1,500. By opening the border Morsi was following through on a campaign promise he made during the run up to Egypt’s hotly contested election. With the advent of the Arab Spring a number of Egyptian pro Resistance organizations demanded the complete opening of the Rafah crossing to all traffic, including commercial. During his campaign Morsi stated that “the time has come to open the Rafah crossing to traffic 24 hours a day and all year round.”
Unfortunately, following the most recent operation the Rafah crossing has been indefinitely closed just like it was under the deposed Egyptian president which will cause great hardship to Gazans and amounts to nothing less than Israeli style “collective punishment” as claimed by Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official.
As one Gazan young woman, Rana Baker, a member of the Gaza-based BDS organizing committee recently observed, “It is worth recalling here the official Egyptian stance on the murder of two Egyptian security guards in an Israeli raid along the Israeli-Egyptian border last year. Not one Egyptian helicopter took off in search of the assailants and not one bullet was aimed at “suspects” from the Israeli side. Not only did the SCAF bury the incident as if it had never happened, but it went as far as to quell Egyptian protestors at the Israeli embassy in Cairo almost a year ago today. Days later the SCAF erected a high wall around the embassy to “protect” it against “extremists.”
The Gaza Strip has now been closed off, as it was during the time of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The siege is now expected to intensify following the indefinite closure of the Rafah and Karm Abu-Salem border crossings. The siege is now expected to intensify following the indefinite closure of the Rafah and Karm Abu-Salem border crossings.
Robert Satloff , Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), founded by AIPAC, presented the Zionist lobby’s reaction to the Sinai operations and the expanding geography of Resistance. He offered the following suggestions presented on their website and in Lobby publications:
“The US must undertake firm communication to Egypt’s Morsi that if he wants international support to bolster his flagging economy, he cannot pander to the worst instincts of Egyptian public opinion. Indeed, any serious effort to prevent terrorist infiltration in Sinai requires coordination with Israel, and this will not proceed in an environment of public vilification.”
“Second, U.S. policymakers should reaffirm to the Egyptian military that Washington views securing Sinai as an essential aspect of Egyptian-Israeli peace, and that continued provision of substantial military aid, which has exceeded 35 billion over the past three decades, is absolutely contingent on the investment of adequate personnel and resources to do the security job. Failure to direct the right people and resources to the peninsula will trigger an overall reassessment of the U.S. military assistance package, with an eye to updating this 1980s-era relationship for the current environment.”
Satloft’s views are reflective of the vast disconnect between reality and expectations of Zionist officials and their shills over what the past 18 months has birthed in the Middle East with respect to resistance to the continuing colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Despite what may well be determined to be a purely terrorist operation last week, there is a perceptible trend showing that the Sinai Peninsula is returning to the era and culture of resistance. The liberation of Palestine draws every nearer and more certain, perhaps sooner than later.