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Islamic State’s Actions Against Jordan And Egypt Reveal Its Overall Plan

By Missing Peace
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis squad in Sinai desertAnsar Bayt al-Maqdis squad in Sinai desert

Egypt responded swiftly to Islamic State’s beheading of 21 Egyptian Christian Coptic men in Libya on Sunday. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered his airforce to bomb the Islamic State stronghold Derna in eastern Libya. The airstrikes were directed at Islamic State camps, training sites, and weapon depots where as many as 50 Islamic State terrorists were killed. Libya’s air force also participated.

Egyptian state television aired footage of fighter planes leaving the hangar with “Long live Egypt” emblazoned on their tails. This was followed by night-vision aerial footage showing explosions. The Egyptian government requested targeting support from the U.S. to no avail.

The Egyptian Coptic Christian victims were among thousands of unemployed Egyptians who had been forced to seek employment in Libya. Unemployment in Egypt had risen from 8.9 percent to 13 percent since the ouster of President Mubarak in 2011.

Islamic State released a video that showed the gruesome killings. The Coptic Christians were marched to a beach, forced to kneel, and then beheaded.

One of the terrorists stood with a knife in his hand and said: “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for; we will conquer Rome, by the will of Allah.”

Israeli and international media reported after the strike that Egypt has now joined the fight against Islamic State and that Egypt has become a target for Islamic State.

In fact, as Western Journalism reported on February 5th, Egypt has been waging war on the Islamic State since December 2014, when Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Sinai pledged allegiance to Islamic State and changed its name to Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province). Shortly afterward, violence in Sinai escalated significantly; and scores of Egyptian security personnel were killed in well-organized terrorist attacks. In one of these attacks, an army helicopter was downed by a surface-to-air missile that had been smuggled into Sinai from Libya.

The new Islamic State Branch also uses beheadings to intimidate Egyptian security personnel. Last year, the group beheaded four citizens who were accused of spying for the Mossad.

Islamic State has obviously decided to attack Egypt in an attempt to further destabilize the country. By baiting Egypt at its weakest point – the porous border with Libya – Islamic State compels President al-Sisi to move forces, diluting the effectiveness of the whole.

This aggravates the situation because Egypt is already challenged by keeping Sinai in check and safeguarding the crucial Nile Delta.

The security situation in Sinai has deteriorated significantly since the army removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Tourists traveling from Taba in Sinai to Eilat in Israel told Western Journalism that free traffic has become impossible in the Sinai Peninsula. The army only allows tourists to visit the coastal plain and Jebel Musa, the mountain Christians believe is the spot where the Ten Commandments were given to the people of Israel. Cars are only allowed to travel in convoys accompanied by army vehicles.

Israeli tourism to Sinai has nearly come to a complete standstill, Israeli security officers told Western Journalism. Israeli tourists now stay in Taba just over the border with Israel.

Islamic State is not strong enough yet to take over Egypt, but that’s not the goal of its latest actions. The group is clearly trying to destabilize Jordan and Egypt. The latest IS campaign started with the provocation of Jordan. King Abdullah decided to start Jordan’s own air campaign against Islamic State after Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was burned alive. Egypt has now been similarly drawn in.

The Jihadist group is trying to destabilize both countries and to inspire the Muslim Brotherhood to rise up against the regimes in both Jordan and Egypt. Both countries face huge economic problems and struggle to contain the rise of Islamism.

Experts fear the air campaign against Islamic State will be answered by a sharp increase in terrorist attacks in both Jordan and Egypt. When Egypt and Jordan descend into chaos, it will be easier for Islamic State to expand its power base and to enlarge its territory. This clearly echoes the situation that developed in Syria and Iraq.

The group has a clear vision of what the end game will be. What is happening in Egypt and Jordan has everything to do with the ultimate goal of destroying the State of Israel. The group has already set up camp in Sinai close to Israel’s southern border. Islamic State’s presence along the long western border with Jordan would be a huge challenge for the IDF and would inspire Palestinian terrorist groups.

Expanding Islamic State presence in Libya serves another goal of the organization: The group wants to expand its influence in North Africa and to use Libya as a gateway to Europe. Islamic State operatives have already taken control of two important Libyan cities and a large part of the Mediterranean coast. They are moving toward oil facilities and are slowly infiltrating the capital, Tripoli.

The British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Islamic State plans to send its forces to North Africa, where they will try to sail across the Mediterranean posing as refugees. To oversee Islamic State operations in Libya and North Africa, the IS leadership has appointed an emir for Tripoli, the Tunisian Abu Talha, and one for west Libya, the Yemeni Abu al-Barra el-Azdi.

The recent terror attacks in France and Denmark are also connected to Islamic State’s plan for Europe. Both attacks revealed the goals of the organization in Europe. The first goal is to undermine European society to the point that they will lose the resolve to fight to uphold Western values and will accept Islamic domination. The second goal is to chase the Jews out of Europe.

It would be a mistake not to take the stated threats and goals of Islamic State seriously. Although the group does not have the means to conquer Israel and southern Europe at this moment, the organization has proven that it acts with a strategic purpose and can advance its goals.

The recent actions against Egypt and Jordan should serve as another warning to the West: Airstrikes alone are not sufficient to defeat Islamic State. It is highly doubtful, however, that this warning will be heeded. In an interview with MSNBC, State Department, Spokeswoman Marie Harf said “ The U.S. cannot win the war with Islamic State by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war”, she said. Harf also claimed that Muslims are attracted to Jihad because of poverty and a lack of jobs.

This article first appeared on Western Journalism in the United States

  1. https://warsclerotic.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/islamic-states-actions-against-jordan-and-egypt-reveal-its-overall-plan/
    Islamic State’s Actions Against Jordan And Egypt Reveal Its Overall Plan |
    on March 11, 2015 at 1:59 pm wrote:

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