Egypt’s Dahab Attacks "for Idiots"
It was not so long until a third city from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt was attacked. Again on the eve of a national day, April 25 known as Sinai Liberation Day, the popular tourist Dahab city was attacked by three explosions, and two of them are believed to be committed by suicide bombers.
The attacks killed more than more than 18 persons and injured at least 80.
This is the third attack in Sinai around Egyptian national days. The 2004 Taba attacks came on October 6 (Army Day). Sharm El Sheikh’s attacks on 2005 were on the eve of July 23 (Revolution Day) and yesterday Dahab attacks took place at the eve of April 25 of 2006. The relationship between these dates and those heinous attacks in Sinai has yet to be interpreted. These three national days have political significance. The message sent here might not be Islamofacist and could hint that the perpetrators are not Islamists.
Tourism industry constitutes a major source for Egypt’s income and a key activity for Egyptian families who earn their living from tourists and popular places like Dahab. The Egyptian State is continuously weakening the structure of the Egyptian society. Tourism economically strengthens the Egyptian families’ economy especially that tourism in Sinai is based on foreigners and not Egyptians.
Egypt is a police state. Security forces and apparatus are considered part and parcel of the Egyptian regime. The Egyptian regime since 1981 enforced the Emergency Law until today after the assassination of President Anwar Al Sadat. The grip of the political security is tightened on the metropolitan areas and not on the vast Sinai Peninsula.
Sinai has a special geographical nature that makes it either easy to target or easy to protect from attacks. With the technological revolution, protection and security should be uncomplicated to survey the area. However, the safe nature of the Sinai Peninsula also makes it very easy for inflators to plant bombs and explosives without tracking or tracing them. That explains the chaotic police investigation and the anarchy of mass arrests of the Egyptian citizens. Due to the war circumstances with Israel, only natives from the Bedouins maintained their homes. Bedouins have extended families along Sinai, Israel and the Palestinian territories. It was very difficult for them to leave their homes. New Egyptian residents went to Sinai to start tourism business, some of them left their families in the different governorates.
Sharm El Sheikh attacks resulted in a random arrest of about 3000 Egyptians from the Bedouins in Sinai, a move that was criticized by most of the human rights groups. The arrests caused a big anarchy between a peaceful community that are living in Egypt and who are not enjoying the privileges of the metropolitan areas in Egypt. Due to the lack of transparent police investigations, many rumors ran in the country accusing the Bedouins of being traitors and conspiring against the country with no proof. The results of arrests did not lead to any definite conclusions.
The first two attacks on Taba and Sharm El Sheikh in 2004 and 2005 proved the failure of the security apparatus in Egypt. The poor investigations, the no results situation that leaves us in complete ignorance about the nature of these attacks and the amount of humiliation received by the Egyptian citizens as a result of the arrests caused huge problem of credibility and confirmed the trust gap between the state and the people and questioned the role of the security forces. The centralization created a gigantic miscommunication between the State and the people that leaves everyone at loss when it comes to answering questions why Egypt is targeted? And who is targeting Sinai in our political national days?
The Middle East region general atmosphere and the uncertainty of the political future of Egypt are inseparable when trying to interpret the Sinai attacks. The Dahab explosions are a set back for the success of the Muslim Brotherhood because it is easy to point to the involvement of Islamists in these crimes.
Political terrorism does not only survive and revive under tyranny and dictatorship but used by totalitarian regimes to maintain their continuation. The unclear security explanation of the Sharm El Sheikh, Taba and Dahab attacks come at the backdrop of new security unrest like the sectarian violence in Alexandria and the due date to renew the emergency law.
Egypt used most of its cards to engage itself in a dialogue with the current U.S. Administration, however it failed. With the rising interest of the U.S. in terrorism after 9/11, many countries found many ways to engage itself with the U.S. through common security interests.
It is true that terrorism is a global phenomenon, however each case and country should be addressed separately one at a time. The terrorism in Iraq is different than that of Hamas and so on…etc. The Sinai attacks cannot be easily incorporated into the terrorism global phenomenon without proper transparent investigations shared with the world and the Egyptian people.
My heartfelt condolences to all the families who lost their dears in these criminal attacks.
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