Egypt curbs the Muslim Brotherhood’s extremism and outlaws Hamas

In the Arab family, they need an intense argument in order to speak out unutterable truths: nobody in the Muslim world had ever dared to connect the names of Hamas and of the Muslim Brotherhood with those of Isis and Al Qaeda. But Abdel Fattah al Sisi, after the umpteenth terrorist attack, disclosed how he actually reads the situation. Egypt – he said frowning on Tv – is the target of international terrorism headed by the Muslim Brotherhood. And the plan to subjugate it involves also Al Qaeda, Isis with its Egyptian offshoot, Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, and – that is hot news – Hamas.

Yes, after the atrocious attacks that have been causing bloodshed in Egypt for months, also Hamas has been added by Al Sisi to the list of the terrorist organizations. Speaking as a general, he told his soldiers: “We have just one choice: Sinai or death”. A strong statement that brings to mind the times of the war against Israel while striking the deepest patriotic chords. An Egyptian court listed Hamas as a terrorist organization because of its armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades. And it is an open wound, as Gaza shares a vital border with Sinai, and now, on that border, there is a snake pit which is hard to cross.

The Egyptian army knows how to be particularly harsh, and behind every dune in Sinai there is a well-armed jeep ready for action. Hamas’ leaders are complaining, demanding that, from now on, Sisi’s Egypt (which the international community considers to be an honest broker) should not be in charge of managing the relationships with Israel anymore. Ismail Haniyeh also said that “the Brigades are a source of pride, respect and bravery” and that Egypt is serving the interests of Israel.

Someone has also mentioned that Europe has recently removed Hamas from its terror list. We really are making a good impression, as usual. The fact is that, after the attacks that left 31 soldiers dead last week, Hamas’ weapons smuggled under the sands of the border worn Egypt out. Sisi is not inclined to waste time in bowing and scraping and wants to fight for Sinai, which is now swept by terrorists and by their Bedouins accomplices, because he knows that Egypt is the greatest (if not the only one) Muslim barrier against Isis. When in October Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, which had not yet changed its name in “the Province of Sinai” (that is, of the Caliphate), caused 30 victims, Egypt hurried to close as many underground tunnels as possible.

Moreover, a 1.000 meters buffer zone was created, the houses there were destroyed, and the Bedouins and the Gazans who lived there were forced to leave. That begs the question of why no anti-Israel bleeding heart said a single word about it this time. Nevertheless, in spite of the radical measures and the mortal clash within the Sunni family, the latest attack came last Thursday, with four raids against the North Sinai’s security forces that killed 31 army and police soldiers. In the meanwhile, 25 people during the weekend were killed by the police forces, who hit multitudes of protesters.

There is war also down the streets in Cairo. General Sisi’s power is besieged, and he keeps fighting with tough determination. Sisi explained that the Muslim Brotherhood is the most powerful among all the Islamist organizations willing to conquer the world. It is well known that this is exactly what separates Egypt from Obama, who since Morsi’s ousting reduced humanitarian aid although the country is literally starving. As Israel ambassador Zvi Mazel wrote, a delegation of the Muslim Brotherhood has been received just one week ago by the State Department, and then it posted the pictures everywhere online. How is it possible that the Obama administration always manages to damage its own friends?


This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (February 02, 2015)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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