Monday 27 November, 2017 Update: Sinai Strife

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In the aftermath of the mosque attack in the Sinai last week, Egypt’s allies and neighbors are expressing surprise, frustration, and grave doubts about the ability of Cairo’s security forces to effectively combat the Wilayat Sinai affiliate of ISIS. The mosque attack was one of the deadliest acts of terror in Egypt’s history with over 300 dead and appears to have completely blindsided Egyptian security services. This is the second major failure by security forces in the past month. In late October 50 Egyptian policemen were killed in a botched raid against a Muslim Brotherhood hideout west of Cairo. After battling the Muslim Brotherhood and Wilayat Sinai militants for years now it is hard to comprehend exactly how these groups are carrying out such murderous attacks with ease.

For Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the mosque attack is a challenge that needs to be met swiftly and with decisive force. Sisi came to power promising security, stability, and prosperous times for Egyptians in exchange for nearly-complete political control of the country. He has failed to deliver on any of the three promises, mainly due to his inability to stamp out the insurgency going on in the Sinai. Even before Sisi entered the political realm, the Sinai was a hotbed of terrorism. It’s the modern day equivalent of the Wild West in many respects. Wilayat Sinai, Al-Qaeda, and numerous other Islamist groups are active on the peninsula. Following the 2013 coup that saw former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi ousted from power, the level of violence skyrocketed.

The United States is growing frustrated with Egypt’s lack of progress in battling the insurgency. Israel is concerned because an unstable Sinai is a threat to its security. Saudi Arabia is watching the situation closely, worried that Iran’s next venture could very well be increased support for the Sinai militants if the Egyptian military and security forces fail to get the upper hand. These are  three of the many good reasons why the Sinai situation should be watched closely in the coming months.

November 2nd Update: ISIS Claims Responsibility For Downing Flight 9268 & The Upcoming Month For This Blog

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The hot button topic at the moment is the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt over the weekend. An executive from Kogalymavia Airline suspects the cause of the crash had to do with ‘external influences.’ Over the weekend, ISIS claimed responsibility for the crash and produced a video that purportedly showed 9268 being struck by a missile and crashing. The quality of the video is questionable at best and does appear to have been edited. No concrete evidence has been presented to suggest that the aircraft was shot down. With Russian involvement in Syria as the backdrop, the investigation is going to be under close scrutiny. The crash was a tragedy regardless of what the cause was. Our thoughts and prayers need to be with the family members of the victims.

As we move into November there are a growing number of hot spots around the world that have to be monitored carefully. Syria and the South China Sea are nestles at the top of the list. However, Eastern Europe and North Korea are also two areas still worthy of attention. As usual, this blog will produce updates on situations around the world throughout the month of November. We will also continue to provide in depth reports on defense and IR topics.

For November, the comprehensive focus is going to be on US strategic forces. A four part series will begin tomorrow with an introduction. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say that if you are a fan of nuclear weapons and apocalyptic scenarios, this four part series is for you.

Today’s DIRT will also begin reviewing books and game software that are International Relations and/or defense-centric. For November we will be reviewing Command: Modern Air & Naval Operations. CMANO is a monster of a game that covers all conflicts from 1945 to the present. If you were a fan of Harpoon, this is a game you should seriously consider looking into.