Thursday, August 11, 2011

Terrorism Returns to Egypt, Will Sanity about Islamism Arrive in the West?

Summary: We see the beginnings of terrorist Islamist groups in Egypt again, with a government unable or unwilling to stop them. The violence will grow. At the same time, this development teaches us about the nature of Islam and Islamism, disproving both sides in the dominant Western debate.

By Barry Rubin

As I've predicted since February, a major consequence of the Egyptian revolution and the rise of radical Islamism there will be a return to the terrorism of the 1990s which destroyed the tourism industry; targeted Christians; murdered moderates and secularists; and killed government officials and bystanders.

Now a group has attacked two police stations in el-Arish. They:

"`Stormed in by the hundreds mounted on pickup trucks and motorcycles waving black flags, a symbol of Jihad,'" said local resident Mohamed Mahmoud. `The militants were heavily armed with machine guns, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades.'"

Where are these weapons going to be coming from? Arms' smugglers allowed to operate without the restrictions of the old regime; politically sympathetic or well-bribed soldiers turning over equipment.

But, of course, CNN misses the point. Those responsible, it reports, are, "Takfir-wal Higra, a group sympathetic to al Qaeda's goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate." Actually, that group originated in Egypt long before Usama bin-Ladin began his political activity. And in Egypt, terrorist Islamists come out of the Muslim Brotherhood, demanding faster and more extreme tactics. We will be seeing a lot of such people in the coming months and years.

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