Egypt has historically been one of the most stable countries in the Middle East. Today, after the failed 2011 “Arab Spring” and shake-up of official power, Egypt’s economy is crippled. The tourism industry is dead. Many other vital sectors are in a bad shape, like electricity and gas. Half of the population is on or below the poverty line.
Not surprisingly, ISIS has made inroads. Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (or ABM), the main insurgent group in Egypt, declared allegiance to ISIS earlier this month, and Egyptian affairs experts fear that Egypt is descending into the kind of violence that has crippled state authorities elsewhere. Not only that, Egypt’s influence in the region and its position as a staging ground for Holy Land attacks makes this substantially different than the ISIS targeting of fringe areas.
“The gradual escalation of violence in Egypt, and particularly in Northern Sinai, is extremely concerning and could herald a new chapter of violent internal conflict for a country that has hitherto been largely peaceful,” said Dr. Nussaibah Younis, a senior research associate at Project On Middle East Democracy.
Read the full article at The Fiscal Times.