Assessing Egyptian Public Support for Security Crackdowns in the Sinai

Assessing Egyptian Public Support for Security Crackdowns in the Sinai
Assessing Egyptian Public Support for Security Crackdowns in the Sinai
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This monograph examines the terrorist groups in Egypt emanating from the Sinai and assesses the level of Egyptian public support for the government's security crackdown. These terrorist groups have not only targeted Egyptian security personnel and foreign tourists in the Sinai Peninsula, but have attacked government installations and personnel in the Egyptian mainland. Because most Egyptians desire stability, want terrorism to end, and want their moribund economy to grow, and because they have few family ties to the Bedouin inhabitants of the Sinai, they have given the government wide berth to carry out a heavy-handed crackdown there. However, some of Egypt's draconian security policies (such as punishing whole Bedouin villages) can be counterproductive, often making more terrorist recruits out of disaffected Bedouin youth than would otherwise be the case.

The monograph recommends enhanced U.S. counterterrorism assistance to the Egyptian military, with specialized courses for Egyptian military officers attending professional military education institutions in the United States and the training of whole Egyptian counterterrorism units either in the United States or in a friendly Arab country. This work also recommends the resumption of a U.S.-Egyptian strategic dialogue, to include U.S. Army officers and their Egyptian counterparts, where effective counterterrorism policies can be discussed in a closed-door setting. In addition, the book advocates for new and enhanced social and economic policies in the Sinai that would aim to dissuade Bedouin youth from assisting and joining the terrorist groups. These policies would involve recruiting properly vetted Bedouin youth into the local police forces and a major jobs training program, with U.S. financial and administrative support, for these youth to prepare them for eventual employment in tourism and other legitimate economic sectors.


GREGORY AFTANDILIAN, a consultant, scholar, and lecturer, is currently an associate of the Middle East Center at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, an adjunct faculty member of Boston University and American University, and a Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the Center for National Policy in Washington, DC. He spent over 21 years in government service, most recently on Capitol Hill, where he was foreign policy advisor to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (2007-08), a professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and foreign policy adviser to Senator Paul Sarbanes (2000-04), and foreign policy fellow to the late Senator Edward Kennedy (1999). Prior to these positions, Mr. Aftandilian worked for 13 years as a Middle East analyst at the U.S. Department of State where he was a recipient of the Department’s Superior Honor Award for his analyses on Egypt and of the Intelligence Community’s Certificate of Distinction. His other government experience includes analytical work for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Library of Congress. Mr. Aftandilian was also a research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2006-07) and an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York (1991-92), where he wrote the book, Egypt’s Bid for Arab Leadership: Implications for U.S. Policy. He is also the author of the monographs: Looking Forward: An Integrated Strategy for Supporting Democracy and Human Rights in Egypt (2009); Presidential Succession Scenarios and Their Impact on U.S.-Egyptian Strategic Relations (2011); and Egypt’s New Regime and the Future of the U.S.-Egyptian Strategic Relationship (2013). He holds a B.A. in history from Dartmouth College, an M.A. in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Chicago, and an M.Sc. in international relations from the London School of Economics.

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This text may appeal to policymakers, peace advocates, diplomacy negotiators, military officers and soldiers, and other strategic personnel that may be influential with counterterrorism discussions. This text may provide helpful background guidance to graduate students in international relations, military science, and national security programs. High school students researching Egypt as part of global studies classes may also be interested in this work.

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Defense Dept., Army, Strategic Studies Institute
  • Aftandillian, Gregory
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Key Phrases:
  • Egypt
  • Terrorism, Egypt, Sinai, Prevention
  • Egypt, Politics and government, 21st century
  • Public opinion, Egypt
  • Egypt, Foreign relations, United States
  • Egypt, Military relations, United States
  • United States, Foreign relations, Egypt
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