De-securitizing counterterrorism in the Sinai Peninsula

Source: Brookings Institute
Author(s): Sahar Aziz

Original Link:


On October 22, 2016, a senior Egyptian army officer was killed in broad daylight outside his home in a Cairo suburb.[1]The former head of security forces in North Sinai was allegedly murdered for demolishing homes and killing a number of residents in Sinai.[2] Since 2011, hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians, soldiers, and militants have been killed by waves of state and non-state violence that have transformed the Sinai Peninsula into a conflict zone.[3]

The Sinai has been a focal point of political and security concerns for over four decades. Occupied by Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and returned to Egypt following the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, the Sinai Peninsula stands at the center of tensions between two regional powers. Although the two countries agreed to the de-militarization of the Sinai and subsequent oversight by the Multinational Force and Observers, the peninsula became highly securitized through aggressive Egyptian policing against residents. Moreover, the Sinai’s remote and rough terrain offered an ideal location for lucrative human, drug, and weapons smuggling (much of which now comes from Libya), and for militant groups to train and launch terrorist attacks against both the Israeli and the Egyptian  governments.[4]Egypt’s January 2011 uprisings created a political vacuum throughout the country that furthered destabilization in Sinai.[5 ]

This policy briefing examines how the myriad political and socioeconomic challenges in the Sinai have contributed to conflict and instability.[6] ….

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