Egypt – Caught Between Rafah and Sudan Part 2 (of a 2 Part Series)

The story continues from Part 1

The Sinai Insurgency 

 This was an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt which was started by Islamist militants against Egyptian security forces, which have also included attacks on civilians. The insurgency began during the Egyptian Crisis, during which the longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in the 2011 Egyptian revolution ;  the country became increasingly destabilized, creating a security vacuum in the Sinai Peninsula. Radical Islamic elements, working for the Mossad,   in Sinai exploited the opportunity, using the region’s unique environment; they launched several waves of attacks against Egyptian military and commercial facilities.

The Sinai insurgency initially consisted of militants, largely composed of local tribesmen, who exploited the chaotic situation in Egypt and weakened central authority to launch a series of attacks on government forces in Sinai. It was at this time that the Mossad/CIA/British Intelligence’s creation – ISIS – was activated in the Sinai. In 2014, elements of the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or ISIS) and proclaimed themselves Sinai Province, with some ISIS. Egyptian authorities have attempted to restore their presence in the Sinai through both political and military measures. 

Egypt launched two military operations, in mid-2011 and then in mid-2012. In May 2013, following an abduction of Egyptian officers, violence in the Sinai surged once again. Following the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état, which resulted in the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, “unprecedented clashes” would occur. The 2 families were upset- to put it mildly- that their man, Morsi, was kicked out. This drove them to intensify their efforts in the Sinai to destabilize Egypt. The fallout suffered by the locals as a result of the insurgency in Sinai ranges from militant operations and the state of insecurity to extensive military operations and the demolishing of hundreds of homes and evacuating thousands of residents as Egyptian troops pressed on to build a buffer zone meant to halt the smuggling of weapons and militants from Western intelligence agencies and the Mossad.

    Since the start of the conflict, dozens of civilians were killed either in military operations or kidnapped and then beheaded by militants-a favorite tactic of ISIS. In November 2017, more than 300 Sufist worshippers were killed and over 100 injured in a terrorist attack on a mosque west of the city of Al-Arish. The combination of Sinai’s harsh terrain and its lack of resources have kept the area poor and hence, it is ripe for militancy.

In addition, the collapse of the Libyan regime increased the quantity and sophistication of weapons being smuggled into the area. The situation provided local Bedouin with an opportunity to assert their authority, leading to clashes with Egyptian security forces. Hard-line militant Muslims used Sinai as a launch-point for attacks against Israel- thus giving an excuse for Israel to militarily intervene in the Sinai- and turned on the Egyptian state, focusing on Egypt’s security establishment and the Sinai’s Arab Gas Pipeline.

On 24 August 2012, Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak have reached an agreement on the issue of the militarization of the Sinai.  The Egyptian military entered the de-militarized zone without Israeli approval, in violation of the peace treaty terms. Egypt has also been reported to have deployed anti-air missiles on the Israeli border, a move which clearly targets Israel, as the Bedouin groups in the Sinai have no aircraft. Sisi has maintained the policy of previous Egyptian presidents of pledging not to visit Israel until Israel recognizes Palestinian statehood, although his Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, has visited Israel.

In November 2010 Israel began construction on a 5-meter-high fence along its border with Egypt known as the Egypt–Israel barrier and was completed by December 2013. The fence stretches along 245 kilometers, from the Kerem Shalom passage in the north to Eilat in the south. The fence was planned to block the infiltration of refugees and asylum seekers from Africa, but took on heightened urgency with the fall of Mubarak’s regime.

The 2011 southern Israel cross-border attacks took place in August; attackers from Egypt killed eight Israelis. Eight attackers were reportedly killed by Israeli security forces, and two more by Egyptian security. Five Egyptian soldiers were also killed. In response, protesters stormed the Israeli embassy.

On 5 August 2012, the 2012 Egyptian–Israeli border attack occurred, when armed men ambushed an Egyptian military base in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 16 soldiers and stealing two armored cars, which they used to infiltrate into Israel. The attackers broke through the Kerem Shalom border crossing to Israel, where one of the vehicles exploded. They then engaged in a firefight with soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, during which six of the attackers were killed. No Israelis were injured.

The pipeline which supplies gas from Egypt to Jordan and Israel was attacked eight times between Mubarak’s ousting on February 11 and November 25, 2011. Egypt had a 20-year deal to export natural gas to Israel. The deal is unpopular with the Egyptian public and Israel was paying below market price for the gas. Gas supplies to Israel were unilaterally halted by Egypt in 2012 because Israel had allegedly breached its obligations and stopped payments a few months prior. 

The Sinai Hit

Metrojet Flight 9268 was an international chartered passenger flight, operated by Russian airline branded as Metrojet). On 31 October 2015, at 06:13 local the Airbus A321-231 operating the flight exploded above the northern Sinai Peninsula following its departure from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, Egypt en route to Pulkovo Airport, Saint Petersburg, Russia. All 224 passengers and crew on board died.  The cause of the crash was an onboard explosive device as concluded by Russian investigators.  Investigators believe that a bomb was put on the aircraft at Sharm El Sheikh.

The downing of the Russian plane in October over the Sinai Peninsula was a targeted hit. It was aimed at two countries – Russia and Egypt.

We can understand Russia; but why Egypt?  To better understand the dynamics of Egypt, let’s do a brief background on the country. Egypt has always given the world insights into the lessons of history should we care to learn from there. It is not surprising as the world moves the stable, superpower-dominated Cold War era to a more fluid, multipolar strategic environment, that Egypt should be the key to much of what will happen in terms of global security in the coming decades. The country is geopolitically placed at the nexus of trade routes, as well as the hub of several cultures and religions. It is an ancient civilization, as witness the pyramids. It is also the connecting point of three continents; Asia, Africa, and Europe.

 Today, the world has moved from static geostrategic competition to open, freeform geopolitics. Every component of the Suez/Red Sea/Horn of Africa matrix of nation-states is a significant element in the framework, but Egypt has throughout history has been the anchor of the region. To that mix has now been added a highly significant natural gas sector.

 Egypt is the biggest strategic prize for world powers in the Middle East. Egypt with its strategic location, stable borders, large population – a highly educated one –, and ancient history, has been the principal power of the Arab world for centuries. The US no doubt viewed Egypt as super-strategic in its aim to control the flows of Middle East oil. 

 Egypt was a semi-province of the Ottoman Empire. When the then-ruler of Egypt built the Suez Canal in 1876, and embarked on an industrial programme, thereafter, he ran into financial difficulties. He sold his 44% stake in the Suez Canal to the British Government, for the sum of $ million pounds. This was financed by the British Rothschilds. Since that time, the British/French control of Egypt lasted until they were ousted from Egypt, following the 1956 Suez War. This war was a result of the Canal being nationalized by Egypt’s nationalist champion Gamal Nasser. Israel, in conjunction with Britain and France invaded Egypt to take control of the Suez Canal, and were ruthlessly booted out by the US President Eisenhower – who was put into office by the Rockefellers. This gave the US key control of the Suez Canal, through which oil shipments flowed to Europe.  

Egypt has the largest population and military power in the Middle East. Israel has always feared the inherent dynamics and latent power of Egypt. Israel fought four wars with Egypt; 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973. Israel captured the Sinai in the 1956 war, but was forced to give it up due to American pressure. In the 1967 war, Israel captured the Sinai, and kept it till the 1973 war. 

After the 1973 War, the US mediated a peace deal, which resulted in the Camp David accords of 1978. The result of this was to neutralize the potential threat of Egypt to Israel’s strategic environment. The Sinai was then given back to Egypt, but with an Israeli military presence in the Sinai.  With its western front secure, this then left Israel with a free hand to “sort out” its northern and eastern flanks.

Israel then ignited the Lebanese powder keg, sucked in Syria into the Lebanese quagmire; and from 1978 to 2003, destroyed its military threats from Iraq and Iran.

 When the US game-planned its new destabilization scenario for the Middle East aka “The Arab Spring”, Egypt’s ruler, Hosni Mubarak refused to play ball. The US went ahead, pushed Mubarak out, and installed Morsi as the new Egyptian leader. Morsi was the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

 The Muslim Brotherhood was the creation of British Intelligence, in 1926/7. The idea was to use the Muslim brotherhood as a ‘counter-gang’ to the nationalist parties in Egypt, who wanted the British out of Egypt. After 1956, the CIA took over the Muslim Brotherhood from the British.

 There is no need to dwell here on the process which led to the installation in mid-2012 and subsequent public rejection in mid-2013 of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, other than that the early refusal of the White House to accept the overthrow of Morsi caused a watershed in US-Egyptian relations.

The Saudi Coup

In June 2013, not long after the death of Richard Rockefeller – the cause of the split between the two families, Secretary of State Kerry paid a visit to King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, and reportedly told him that the US is “not able to guarantee the security of its eastern oil fields anymore”. Calmly, King Abdullah replied, and said, “We, with the help of God, will manage, and are not in need of your security guarantee.” King Abdullah was deeply anti-American, as related in the Special Report on Saudi Arabia, when from 1999 to 2006; the US was in a covert war with the House of Saud.

 Due to a small population, its huge oil reserves, and large country, it was not well guarded. Thus, Pakistan assumed the role of acting as Saudi Arabia’s reserve army. King Abdullah moved with haste and “re-insured” Saudi Arabia’s defence with Egypt; but not an Egypt under Morsi.

On July 3, 2013, swift action by Egypt’s military to arrest Mohammed Morsi and key leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood organization sent shock waves across the Middle East and the world. It marked a major setback for Washington’s “Arab Spring” strategy of using political Islam to spread chaos from China through Russia, and across the energy-rich Middle East.

 On July 17, the newly-sworn in transitional government of Abdullah Sisi took office. The very next day, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE gave Egypt’s government a $12 billion cash infusion, with pledges for another $12 billion to follow. The news was a double slap in the face to Washington who had insisted that Morsi’s government buckle under harsh IMF conditions as precondition for financial help.

  The Saudi decision to take bold action to stop what it saw as a disastrous US Islamic strategy of backing Brotherhood revolutions across the Islamic world has dealt a blow to the mad US strategy of believing it can use the Brotherhood as a political force to control the Islamic world more tightly and use it to destabilize China, Russia, and Central Asia. The Saudi leadership began to fear that the secretive Brotherhood would one day rise against their rule as well. They never forgave Washington for toppling Saddam Hussein in Iraq that brought a majority Shia to power there, nor the US decision to topple close ally Mubarak in Egypt.  Saudi Arabia revolted on July 3 by backing and supporting the military coup in Egypt.

 Qatar Reacts Dramatically

Conspicuously, one Gulf state absent from the aid is Qatar, whose leader, Hamad al Thani had poured more than $5 billion in Egypt since the revolution in 2012, in addition to another $11 billion to Muslim Brotherhood chapters in Syria, Libya and Turkey. Within minutes of the Saudi-backed coup, Qatar’s leader, Hamed el Thani took note of the implications, and announced his abdication in favor of his son, 33 – year old Tamim, a moderate. The son immediately fired the pro-Brotherhood Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim nicknamed ‘HBJ’ (HBJ was closely tied into the London Rothschild network). The Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Yusua al Qaradawi, has lived in Doha for decades. Significantly, one of the first acts of the Egyptian military was to close the Al Jazeera studio in Cairo. Al Jazeera was founded and funded by Louis Rothschild of the French branch.

 This major defeat of the Brotherhood in Egypt sent shock waves in Turkey. Morsi shortly before his fall, called for a Jihad to topple Assad. The new Qatari leadership is now becoming moderate and are recalibrating its foreign policy. In brief, they dare not risk total isolation within the Saudi-dominated Gulf/Arab states.


In the immediate proximity, the new Sisi government has worried Israel’s strategists.  They were worried that their plans for Egypt were now in disarray. The two Israeli security agencies Shin Bet and Mossad were causing chaos in the Sinai, which had become a no-man’s land where organized crime, illegal arms trading and terrorist groups were having a free hand. Israel began to destabilize the Sinai, using ISIS – (a “rent-a terrorist” mob creation of the CIA, British Intelligence and the Mossad, just like what they did with Al Qaeeda in the 1990s) and a war between terrorists and Egyptian security forces were taking a grim toll. The Mossad opened a new front on Egypt’s western front, in Libya, following the downfall of Ghaddafi. On February 16, 2015, the Egyptian Air force (EAF) struck ISIS bases and fighters in Derna, Libya in response to the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers. The Libyan Air Force also struck at sites in Derna, in cooperation with the EAF. In short, Egypt is being destabilized on both fronts by Israel, using its proxy – ISIS- with the aim of weakening Egypt’s military morale and strength.

 In the light of this continued threat against its sovereignty, Egypt turned to Russia. With financial support from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Egypt purchased arms from France and Russia. From France came fighter jets, and various types’ naval ships.  In late September, Egypt bought the two Mistral-class helicopter assault ships from France for a billion euros.

  By 2014, Egypt had begun reviving economically and strategically, and promised to transform the Suez-Red Sea strategic marine environment. Sisi transformed Egypt and began to rebuild Egypt’s strategic posture and future. Egypt now began to build up its economy, starting with the construction of the second Suez Canal. Built and completed within a year by August 2015. This stands to increase the income potential of the Canal, Egypt’s most significant earner of foreign exchange, by expanding the number of ships passing through it from 49 to 97 ships a day. As a result of all the above, Egypt had begun, by 2014, to strategically distance itself from the US. By mid-2015, Egypt had broken its strategic dependence on the US. Sisi accused the US of turning its back to Egyptians; “You left the Egyptians, you turned your back on the Egyptians and they won’t forget that.” The break with the US was inevitable, given Washington’s decision to withdraw from its earlier military-oriented dominant position in the Middle East. That was in large part the reflection of the American exhaustion with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

 Egypt has moved in an incredibly short period of time through the phase of being a component of the US network in the region, through the economic and social disruption of the Morsi period, to a new regional, independent giant. What is certain now is that the US has ended its almost four-decades of strategic influence in Egypt. This may be the most decisive loss for America’s global posture in recent years. This is a significantly new world, already, and Egypt has the resources and geography to be central to it.

From Israel’s point of view, it was time to create some serious damage to Egypt and its economy. On October 31, it brought down a Russian civilian airliner by planting a bomb on board. The result was the death of 224 passengers- no survivors.  Two countries were the target of this attack. First was Russia, as it began the destruction of the ISIS “rolling oil-pipeline-on –wheels “, in Syria.

And the second – and prime – target was Egypt, specifically its tourist trade. The majority of foreign tourists to Egypt came from Russia and Britain. Both these countries began pulling out its citizens from Egypt. The result was a huge blow to Egypt’s prestige and its foreign income. It would take some time before it would be restored to earlier levels. Tourism provides for some 7% of Egypt’s GDP.

 Putin was furious with Israel, and its ISIS proxy, saying “We will search for them anywhere they might hide. We will find them in any part of the world and punish them. In a statement on its website, the Russian intelligence agency FSB was offering a $50 million reward for “information helping to arrest the criminals “behind this attack. Putin began ordering intensified strikes in Syria, especially in Raqqa, the ISIS headquarters in Syria. The war continues.

The Sudan Equation

The British granted independence to Sudan in 1956. In October 1983, British Intelligence attacked a Chevron drilling rig that was exploring for oil. At around the same time, they also attacked a French engineering firm doing dredging work in Sudan’s south – the Suez Canal. This project was meant to dredge a canal in order to dry out the marshland in the area. This would help increase the flow of water north, and free up more land for agricultural purposes. After these twin attacks, both the projects were abandoned.

Over the next 27 years, Sudan went through multiple attacks and destabilization, all spearheaded by the Mossad. In the early 1990s, oil was discovered in Sudan,     which eventually was taken over by China. This time, the Americans joined in the plan to destroy this aspect of Sudan. By 2010, the US and Israel succeeded in splitting Sudan into two parts-north and south. The south became a colony of Israel.

 Why are the Rothschilds so determined to control Sudan? The answer is simple – Israel’s morbid fear of Egypt. Its failure to make Egypt a colony of Egypt, made Israel aim to weaken, destabilize and cripple its economy and military potential. Israel’s aim to control Egypt’s western border as another front failed when Russia and Egypt helped Haftar Khalifa control Libyas’ eastern border with Egypt. So, Israel could only aim at Egypt from the south through Sudan and on the Sinai front. The Israeli plan to control Sudan is to control Egypt’s water supply- the Nile River. If in the future, a point is reached when both Egypt and Israel are at war, control of the Nile into Egypt will be a strategic game-changer. Israel will be in a position to choke off the flow of the Nile into Egypt. That’s the key strategic aim of Israel’s move on Sudan.

  Adding insurance to this policy is the Grand Renaissance Dam recently completed in Ethiopia. If the project in Sudan fails, then the GRD will assume the role of cutting off the Nile water into Egypt. Egypt nearly went to war with Ethiopia over this issue, but she wasn’t in a position to do so. Ethiopia is in the Rothschild orbit. Ethiopia is also a key node in China’s BRI project.

The Current Clashes in Sudan

Intense clashes between Sudan’s military and the country’s main paramilitary force have killed hundreds of people and sent thousands fleeing for safety, as a burgeoning civil war threatens to destabilise the wider region. The clashes erupted in the middle of April, 2023 amid an apparent power struggle between the two main factions of the military regime. The Sudanese armed forces are broadly loyal to Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the country’s de facto ruler, while the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a collection of militia, follow the former warlord Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti. The power struggle has its roots in the years before a 2019 uprising that ousted the dictatorial ruler Omar al-Bashir, who built up formidable security.

When an effort to transition to a democratic civilian-led government faltered after Bashir’s fall, an eventual showdown appeared inevitable, with diplomats in Khartoum warning in early 2022 that they feared such an outbreak of violence. In the weeks before clashes broke out tensions had risen further.

Sudan’s armed forces are broadly loyal to Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the country’s de facto ruler. 

 How did the Military Rivalries Develop?

The RSF was founded by Bashir to crush a rebellion in Darfur that began more than 20 years ago due to the political and economic marginalisation of the local people by Sudan’s central government. The RSF was also known by the name of Janjaweed, which became associated with widespread atrocities.

In 2013, Bashir transformed the Janjaweed into a semi-organised paramilitary force and gave their leaders military ranks before deploying them to crush a rebellion in South Darfur and then dispatching many to fight in the war in Yemen, and later Libya.

The RSF, led by Hemedti, and the regular military forces under Burhan cooperated to oust Bashir in 2019. The RSF then dispersed a peaceful sit-in that was held in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum, killing hundreds of people. A power-sharing deal with the civilians who led the protests against Bashir, which was supposed to bring about a transition towards a democratic government, was interrupted by a coup in October 2021.

The coup put the army back in charge but it faced weekly protests, renewed isolation and deepening economic woes. Hemedti swung behind the plan for a new transition, bringing tensions with Burhan to the surface. Hemedti has huge wealth derived from the export of gold from illegal mines, and commands tens of thousands of battle-hardened veterans. He has long chafed at his position as official deputy on Sudan’s ruling council.

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces are loyal to Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti. 

What are the Fault Lines?

A central cause of tension since the 2019 uprising has been the civilian demand for oversight of the military and integration of the RSF into the regular armed forces. Civilians have also called for the handover of lucrative military holdings in agriculture, trade and other industries – a crucial source of power for an army that has often outsourced military action to regional militias.

What’s at Stake in the Region?

Sudan is in a volatile region bordering the Red Sea, the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa. Its strategic location and agricultural wealth have attracted regional power plays, complicating the chances of a successful transition to civilian-led government.

Several of Sudan’s neighbours – including Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan – have been affected by political upheavals and conflict, and Sudan’s relationship with Ethiopia, in particular, has been strained over issues including disputed farmland along their border. Sudanese refugees have fled the recent fighting to the county’s neighbors.

Major geopolitical dimensions are also at play, with Russia, the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other powers battling for influence in Sudan. Sudan has also been heavily impacted by severe weather events linked to climate change, including floods and droughts. These events have adversely affected hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the country, leading to crop and livestock destruction and exacerbating food insecurity for families.

Since the recent clashes began on April 15th, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated. Half of Sudan’s population – some 25 million people – need humanitarian assistance and protection. The country is facing extreme shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel and nearly 18 million people are facing acute food insecurity. The death toll from this civil war over the past 11 months have caused about 10,000 deaths.

The Saudis and Abu Dhabi have seen Sudan’s transition as an opportunity to push back against Western intelligence linked influence in the region- exercised through many “rent a terrorist” groups, like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Western powers fear the potential for a Russian base on the Red Sea, to which Sudanese military leaders have expressed openness.

Since early last year, the RSF, backed by Abu Dhabi and the US are positioning the RSF to be the main army if they win this battle. Israel always feared a strong army of the Arab states. It is because these nationalistic armies have a strong Islamic identity. By replacing the national army with the RSF, Israel hopes to weaken such national armies, so that, when push comes to shove, these nations won’t be able to defend itself against Israel and its proxies in the region. The ultimate target is Egypt.

So, here we find that Egypt finds itself boxed in in the south, via Sudan, and in the Sinai, via Rafah. Between these two external threats, Egypt also has to win against the Rothschilds IMF trying to get Egypt to bend to Israel’s demands to accept the Palestinians being expelled from Gaza.

The Russian Connection

Sudan shows how Russia and China’s approaches to Africa differ. Sudan received billions in loans and investment from China to facilitate oil production and economic development throughout the 2000s. Russia is a longstanding security partner of Sudan, and is keen to set up a naval base in Port Sudan

In November 2020, Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian Navy would proceed with building a base capable of hosting 300 personnel and four warships on Sudan’s Red Sea coast- this deal  would give Russia a naval base in Port Sudan for at least 25 years. This was compared to Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria. However in June 2021, the Associated Press reported that the agreement was not ratified by Sudan’s parliament and the Sudanese military indicated it would review the agreement. Sudan’s Chief of General Staff, Gen. Mohammed Othman al-Hussein stated, “We are negotiating a possible review to this deal, to ensure that our interests and our profits are taken into account.” Russia is the major weapons supplier to the Sudan.

In February 2023, Russia’s Lavrov met Sudanese officials in Khartoum  to improve relations amid the International sanctions during the Russo-Ukrainian War, and to conclude a review of an agreement to build a naval base with up to 300 Russian troops in Port Sudan, awaiting ratification from yet-to-be-formed legislative body in Sudan. Our next article deals with Hezbollah and Iran. Stay tuned till then.

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