There is an intertwined and very complicated triangle that much debate is revolving around these days, a triangle consisting of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and al-Qaeda.
Center stage is Gaza and the shared Egyptian-Palestinian border that spans 11 kilometers.
The cause of the crisis: the brutal assault resulting in the deaths of 16 Egyptian soldiers and officers at the Rafah border crossing, whilst they were eating the Ramadan meal of iftar.
This incident and its aftermath led to several important facts:
1. There are jihadist organizations sympathetic with al-Qaeda based in Gaza who are training Sinai natives inside Egyptian borders or inside Gaza in the art of killing, destruction and guerilla warfare.
2. Hamas is unable to control the activities of these organizations, at the top of which is the “Army of Islam”, headed by a Gaza-based jihadist named Mumtaz Daghmash who is sympathetic with the ideas of al-Qaeda.
3. The international al-Qaeda organization, after its leader Osama bin Laden was killed and Ayman al-Zawahiri assumed leadership, has focused on jihadi activism in Sinai in order to take advantage of the security vacuum that emerged after the January 25th revolution in 2011, and after tons of advanced weaponry became available as a result of the civil war in nearby Libya.
The attempts to penetrate Sinai, the internal Egyptian situation, Hamas’ struggle with the Palestinian Authority and Netanyahu’s military projects against Gaza are all becoming embroiled in the depths of a ticking time bomb, namely the further dangerous and insane acts that are being prepared by al-Qaeda and its allied forces.
Hence the importance of the Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mishal’s visit to Cairo today, and his role in attempting to untangle these complex and intertwined elements, which have the potential to ignite a fire that no one would be able to extinguish for many years.
What is happening in Syria, Israel’s threats, Iran’s provocative statements, and the US failure in dealing with these issues have all produced a very dangerous flashpoint, and that is Sinai.
Remember everyone that I have warned repeatedly in this column that the gateway to hell, in order to strike the political regime and fragment the joints of the Egyptian state, is Sinai, especially considering that it shares an 11 kilometer border with Gaza.