WP: Al-Sisi’s Authoritarian Measures Fuel More Terrorism in Egypt

It seems that al-Sisi’s authoritarian measures have fueled more terrorist attacks to Egypt rather than limiting them.  

After the devastating attack on the Egyptian security forces, unprecedented reshuffle took place at the top of the security forces as it considered an embarrassing defeat for Egypt’s security forces.

Last weekend, al-Sisi dismissed Mahmoud Hegazy, the armed forces chief of staff and appointed former defense ministry secretary general Mohammed Farid Hegazy to the post.

In fact, the move was part of a drastic change of the security apparatus leadership that including the firing of 11 people, most notably the heads of the National Security Agency and the Central Security Forces Special Operations unit.

It is worth to mention that these officials were in charge of the Interior Ministry departments whose members were killed in the Western Desert attack.

However, many analysts believe that al-Sisi’s way in addressing the terrorism would increase terrorism rather than curbing it.

“Scorched-earth tactics, such as the creation of buffer zones, the imposition of emergency law and curfews, and human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings and torture have allowed the government to exploit the so-called war on terrorism in the interest of cracking down on dissent. This, in turn, merely fuels extremist violence in the long term,” according to the Washington post.

Al-Sisi declared a state of emergency throughout the country, after the Palm Sunday attacks against on two Coptic Churches in Alexandria and Tanta in Egypt in April.

The new emergency law gives the government the ability to take measures against terrorism suspects without permission from a prosecutor and to censor the media in the interest of providing security during times of crisis.

“Even if one were to accept the government’s argument that such measures are necessary, this strategy has not been effective in fighting terrorism, “said the Washington Post.

Terrorism in Egypt has been on the rise since the state of emergency came into force.

Records show that the death toll of security personnel and civilians has reached at least 36 and 32, respectively, in 19 terrorist attacks taking place across the country (excluding North Sinai).

In North Sinai alone, where emergency law has been in effect since 2014, the death toll of security personnel and civilians in 2017 thus far has been at least 92 and 25, respectively, in more than 100 terrorist attacks.

Egypt’s prisons, whereabout 60% of those jailed are political prisoners, have become an incubator for radicalization.

Moreover, the government is silencing any voices that attempt to question it. “The current counterterrorism law muzzles the media, criminalizing its ability to report numbers that differ from the state’s and yielding an opacity that allows militants to control the security narrative, “said the WP.

In the end, Egypt’s fight against terrorism is ineffective even as it receives billions of dollars in security assistance, cooperation and arms deals.

It is worth to mention that US continues to provide $1.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing that Egypt is allocated annually.

European countries also provided security support in cooperation with Egypt since 2014. The French signed several agreements valued at $2.26 billion in April 2016 that included fighter aircraft, navy vessels and a military satellite communications contract.

According to the Washington Post, “However, all this will amount to little in the quest to achieve and maintain security and stability so long as the government continues with its current approach.” It added, “Most concerning is that this repressive security strategy has had a disproportionate effect on Egypt’s disenchanted youth. “

Hundreds of youth are now in prison, while others are left with fewer and fewer paths to voice opposition, and little hope for a future in a country where youth unemployment continues to hover around 40% due the country’s continuous economic crisis.

The government “should follow the rule of law, end human rights violations and open channels for peaceful engagement with Egyptians, “said the WP.