Thursday, November 27, 2008

Northern Sinai situation alarming Egypt

From Daily News Egypt:
The current situation in North Sinai constitutes a threat to national security along the border with Israel, warned the defense and national security committee of the People's Assembly.

At the end of a three-day visit to the area, the committee said that tunnel smuggling across the border and widespread possession of weapons in North Sinai amounted to an explosive situation.

Sinai has recently been the site of trouble between Bedouins and security forces, as clashes two weeks ago resulted in the death of four Bedouins.

A spat ensued between [Head of the North Sinai branch of the Tagammu party Ashraf] El-Hefny and North Sinai Governor Mohammed Abdel-Fadel Shoosha at the committee's conference after he demanded an apology from the senior official for recent claims that the Bedouin were in cahoots with Israel.

"How can the government accuse us of disloyalty when they are exporting gas to Israel despite an administrative court order to cease? They are even appealing the verdict, it is the government that is unpatriotic," El-Hefny said.

This enmity between Egypt and the Bedouin resulted in a death fatwa a few days ago:

Bedouin tribes in Sinai have issued a death fatwa on famed television presenter Amr Adib for comments he made about them after recent clashes in Sinai between them and security forces.

The decision was reached at a meeting of the popular campaign for citizen rights in North Sinai last Wednesday, where a council of various tribes issued a fatwa on Adib after the comments he made on his show, North Sinai Tagammu party member Hussein El Qayem told Daily News Egypt.

It was decreed that the blood of anyone who accuses the residents of North Sinai of disloyalty was forfeit.

Adib, who hosts the popular Al-Qahira Al-Youm talk show on Orbit satellite network, is alleged to have insinuated that the Bedouins of Sinai were more partial to an “enemy” country, meaning Israel, than Egypt.

He is also meant to have accused the Bedouins of wanting to secede from Egypt, and warned them that if they didn’t like their circumstances, they could go live in that “enemy” country.

At least there is something they can agree on - that there is no greater insult than saying that someone is friendly towards Israel.