May 5, 2017
Sinai Bedouin Aligning with Egypt Against ISIS – Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
In its battle against ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, one of the main difficulties facing the Egyptian army has been the absence of accurate, real-time intelligence on the location of ISIS forces, experts on the war on terror agree. But this problem may soon be resolved due to a series of missteps by ISIS in Sinai involving the Bedouin tribes living there.
According to a report in Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed of April 29, over the past three years, ISIS operatives have shot and killed 300 members of Bedouin tribes in Sinai and beheaded another 200 Bedouin for allegedly “collaborating” with the Egyptian army and police forces, in order to terrorize and frighten the Bedouins into submission.
In recent weeks there have been numerous violent incidents between ISIS and Sinai Bedouin. The Bedouin tribes, who refused to cooperate with the Egyptian army against ISIS in northern Sinai over the past three years, have changed their minds, since the Bedouins are fed up with the continued clashes with ISIS.
On April 29, 2017, the Tarabin tribe published a statement calling on all the tribes to unite in order to fight the terrorism that threatens Egypt. The Tarabin tribe has a large military force and weapons that ISIS does not have. They also have lots of money and can buy new weapons.
The weakening or removal of ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula is an important interest for Israel, since ISIS has carried out a number of attacks against Israel from Sinai and has fired rockets at the city of Eilat.
The writer is a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television.