Egypt’s dubious security harvest



One of the main motivations behind Egypt’s 2013 military coup was to counter potential violence and terrorism. Yet one of its main upshots is a surge in violence and terrorism, committed by both state and non-state actors – and there is no sign of de-escalation, much less reconciliation, in sight, notes the University of Exeter’s Omar Ashour, the author of The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements and Collusion to Collision: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt.

Clearly, violence and terrorism are thriving, despite General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s pledge, he writes for Project Syndicate:

Meanwhile, the relative moderates who have remained committed to contesting official policies by democratic means are sidelined and mocked. One prominent example is Essam Derbala, the head of the Consultative Council of the Islamic Group (IG), a post-jihadist organization that led a terror campaign in the early 1990s, before abandoning political violence in 1997 and engaging in mainstream politics.

From 2002 to 2009, Derbala and other IG leaders produced around 30 books to counter al-Qaeda’s ideology. After ISIS announced its intention to declare a “province” in Upper Egypt in April 2015, Derbala toured the Upper-Egyptian IG strongholds, giving public lectures countering ISIS ideology. A few months later, he was arrested and died in prison. Among his last messages to his supporters was “not to give up on democracy and peaceful resistance.”


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