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Thursday, 15 March 2018

Western Desert emerging as frontier in fight against terrorism

With another slow night on Egypt in the foreign press this morning, the conversation was dominated by the Sinai operation and the elections.

The Western Desert is emerging as a new frontier in the global fight against terrorism, Sudarsan Raghavan writes for the Washington Post. Raghavan says terrorists linked to Daesh and Al Qaeda “are using the desert as both a haven and a crossing point for smuggling fighters, weapons and illicit goods from Libya.” A new group linked to Al Qaeda is emerging in the area and analysts say it is made up of highly trained former Egyptian army officers and soldiers who became radicalized. “Compared to the insurgency in the Sinai, this is not a layman’s insurgency … They have military training and are comprised of former army members, which makes it very hard for counter attacks by the Egyptian army to bring these areas under their control,” explains analyst Hause Waszkewitz.

Meanwhile in Sinai, residents are holding out hope that the peninsula will finally weed out terrorism once development efforts are implemented in the vast governorate, Mohammed al-Hur writes for Asharq Al-Awsat. One tribe leader lauded the government’s recently unveiled Sinai development plan as a promise of “a major change for the people, who have often received promises without action on the ground.”

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