Why Egypt still has a long way to go in solving its many problems
Wednesday morning, two persons, who commenced a poorly planned and poorly executed attack on a location primarily inhabited by tourists, were killed in Luxor, Egypt.
The three who composed the attacking party allegedly possessed both explosives and firearms, and subsequently the two were dispatched in a manner befitting their behavior and demeanor by security personnel.
Khaled Rami, Egyptian Tourism Minister, stated of these tragic events that “The policeman who stopped the vehicle sustained minor injuries, but due to his heroic actions, many other potential victims were saved and thankfully no tourists were harmed.”
Acts like this pose a great threat to the Egyptian tourism industry. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi praised the efforts and awareness of Egyptian security officers. Tourist numbers have dwindled in Egypt over the last few years for various reasons including an ambient fear of random upsurges in violence.
In 2010 the country experienced approximately 14.7 million visitors from abroad. Since this statistic appeared, things have not quite been the same. Approximately 9 million visitors per year have come since that time. When viewed in terms of economics, sustained violence like this could act to continually drain money from the system.
The Muslim Brotherhood, a group which, over the past few years, has been the target of systematic government surveillance, censorship, and institutional efforts at incarceration and execution has been blamed by some for the attacks.
The government crackdown, which was initially aimed at curtailing opportunities for violence and sedition, and which occurred partially as a result of chaotic fallout from the recent Egyptian Revolution, aimed to stamp these out by stomping on the Brotherhood. Amr Darrag, former Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, stated from his exile in Turkey that “We do not accept the revolution to go into a violent or armed struggle.”
What has become evident, over the course of a deeper analysis of this group, is a series of internal schisms within the Brotherhood. Certainly there are those who pledge loyalty, either publicly or privately, who have absolutely no interest in perpetrating physical violence against any human persons. On the other hand, as has been demonstrated multiple times, it is also evident that there are “members” who have, once again, privately or publicly, made the opposite pledge.
Slightly more militant parties, like Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which often operates within the northern part of the Sinai, and which has a membership sometimes overlapping with that of the Muslim Brotherhood, have, in the past, participated with other groups like the Islamic State.
This group, specifically, has claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist activities including the assassination of Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa, Egyptian Minister of the Interior, and partial responsibility for the October 2014 Sinai attacks which resulted in the deaths of over thirty security personnel. One can see why this is a problem which seems to exacerbate itself, as it seems evident that mutual antagonism often leads to exacerbated mutual antagonism.
With an eye toward a prosperous Egypt and a peaceful Middle East, it seems likely that increased efforts at reconciliation may be in order. Certainly, in my humble opinion, mass death sentences closely resemble Bolshevik purges.
This can, in many ways, be seen as something which (as with the situation in Gaza) only pushes groups apart internally and permanently. The revolution sought to do many things, and to correct many of the injustices perpetuated almost indefinitely by the state under former “president”, Hosni Mubarack. In many ways it has succeeded, however it has been made clear that there are still problems to be confronted head on.