Along with continuing to follow the situation in Syria today — including the announcement of Lakhdar Brahimi as the new UN-Arab League envoy leader, replacing Kofi Annan, and William Hague’s statement on the £5 million in “non-lethal practical assistance” (including things like medical supplies, mobile phones and body armour) that the UK will now give to unarmed opposition groups, human rights activists and civilians in the country — we also have our eyes on the Sinai.
According to various accounts, including this one and this one, last Sunday, during an iftar dinner, gunmen killed at least 15 Egyptian guards at a police station where the Egyptian, Israeli and Gazan borders converge. The gunmen then tried to storm the Israeli border in a stolen vehicle when an Israeli aircraft destroyer gunned them down. The week following the attacks has seen Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi sack several senior security officials, further attacks in the Sinai, an arrest by the Egyptian army of a group of men apparently linked to the attack and much speculation over who the gunmen were, where they came from and what this situation may mean.
In a piece which ran in the Guardian’s Comment is Free on 8 August, MEC Director Fawaz Gerges responds to the Egyptian military attacks on the Sinai following the border attack: Without addressing Sinai’s severe social challenges, particularly a widespread feeling of neglect, discrimination and disfranchisement among its Bedouin population, Gerges writes, the army’s tactics might exacerbate an already dangerous situation.