HJS Paper: Egypt, Hamas and ISIS’s Sinai Province
The 16-page paper explains how the Egyptian Sinai’s Islamic State branch represents a direct threat which is being ignored even while the organisation is targeted in Iraq and Syria, and outlines why the Western strategy for dealing with Islamic State must take a comprehensive look at also confronting ISIS in places like Libya and the Egyptian Sinai.
This is an extremely well-researched paper and an eye-opener, if not for global military strategists, then certainly for the man-in-the-street. The fact is clearly made that if and when ISIS is defeated where it is, it suddenly becomes a new problem – largely for Egypt which could find itself facing off at its eastern front (Sinai) and western front (Libya) simultaneously.
The report goes into how closely Hamas and ISIS are co-operating – strange bedfellows as they are on the opposite scales of Iran’s interests. Download the PDF on JR Online here
The paper’s key observations include:
- In November 2014 ABM broke off its ties with al-Qaida, instead swearing allegiance to Islamic State and recognising al-Baghdadi as caliph. Following the group’s realignment with Islamic State, Wilayat Sinai considerably expanded the scale and ambitions of its operations. Despite determined counterinsurgency efforts on the part of the Egyptian military Wilayat Sinai continued to successfully execute a series of high-profile attacks in Egypt’s major cities, and in October 2015 the group secured international attention with the bombing of the Sharm el-Sheikh Russian passenger jet.
- There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that Islamic State’s Sinai Province is collaborating with the military wing of Hamas in Gaza. Hamas figures are known to have crossed into the Sinai and are believed to be with Wilayat Sinai for training purposes. Senior figures associated with Wilayat Sinai have also travelled to Gaza, and a number of the group’s fighters are understood to have been brought into Gaza for medical assistance.
- Since the summer of 2016 the Egyptian military have made some progress in degrading elements of Wilayat Sinai’s operational capabilities. Nevertheless, the risk of groups linked to Islamic State becoming resurgent in the Sinai remains a distinct possibility. If IS continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, we may see that organisation redoubling efforts to advance in other territories, certainly in Libya, but potentially also in the Sinai as well.
Dr Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society announced the paper earlier this week.