Defections Challenge Hamas’ Cooperation With the Islamic State

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, attend a memorial for Mohamed Zouari in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on January 31, 2017, (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, attend a memorial for Mohamed Zouari in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on January 31, 2017, (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

by IPT News  •  Feb 8, 2017

Hamas continues to play a double game when it comes to the Islamic State. The Palestinian terrorist organization is trying to supress ISIS-inspired jihadists in Gaza, while simultaneously cooperating with the terrorist group’s Sinai Peninsula affiliate – Wilayat Sinai.

Despite some tactical benefits, Hamas’ seemingly counterintuitive, yet calculated, engagement with Islamic State elements has resulted in tangible setbacks for the Palestinian group. Palestinian sources speaking with the Times of Israel revealed that dozens of Hamas operatives have defected to Wilayat Sinai, including highly trained terrorists from elite units.

Roughly two months ago, Hamas forces arrested Abed al-Wahad Abu Aadara, a Hamas naval commando who defected to ISIS after he re-entered Gaza. His brother also joined ISIS and died in clashes with the Egyptian military. Facing pressure from ISIS, Hamas recently released Abu Aadara from prison.

Other defectors include highly trained Hamas operatives who enhance the Islamic State’s ability to build bombs and use anti-tank missiles. Senior military wing members, including Abu Malek Abu Shwiesh, a key assistant to Hamas’ Rafah commander, reportedly joined Wilayat Sinai.

The ISIS affiliate has created significant Egyptian casualties in recent years, particularly after acquiring and deploying sophisticated weaponry in the Sinai.

Israeli officials have outlined detailed aspects of Hamas-Islamic State cooperation in the past. Both organizations engage in smuggling terrorists and arms, including advanced weapons systems. For example, Hamas provided Wilayat Sinai with Kornet anti-tank missiles that have destroyed Egyptian military vehicles. Hamas also provides military training and medical services for injured Wilayat Sinai fighters in Gaza, in addition to reportedly transferring money directly to the terrorist organization.

In return, Hamas cultivates a safe haven for its leaders and fighters in case of a future confrontation with Israel, understanding that Israel’s military engagement on Egyptian territory is limited.

Since the end of the 2014 summer war in Gaza, Hamas has invested significant resources into reconstructing its terrorist infrastructure. It also continues to rebuild its elite forces – including its naval commando unit – dedicated to infiltrating into Israel to carry out terrorist attacks. Reports of Hamas defections are a clear setback for the Palestinian organization, but are not likely lead to a wider rift with the Islamic State.

Despite broader ideological differences, both groups remain committed to challenging the Egyptian military in Sinai and destroying the Jewish state.

***

Amplifying Details on the Sinai Plane Bombing and the Egypt-Libya Nexus

Source: Associated Free Press/Getty Images (Maxim Grigoryev)

Source: Associated Free Press/Getty Images (Maxim Grigoryev)

The ISIS Study Group, Nov. 7, 2015:

The last few days have been filled with a flurry of information regarding the downing of Flight 7K9268. Within the last 18 hrs we’ve received amplifying information from our sources in the country. Our sources within the Egyptian Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) confirmed that Russian investigators found the remnants of the explosive device we were talking about in our 03 NOV “Sinai Plane Crash Update.” Furthermore, the running theory of those investigators is that depressurization caused by an internal explosion tore off the tail section, causing the plane to flip over and send it to the ground. When we asked one of our sources if 500 grams of C4 could cause that, he answered back that it wouldn’t take much to bring a plane down, especially if the device was placed near the fuel line – which is what DMI assesses to be the case. Another source working with Russia’s Health Ministry Center for Forensic Medical Expertise confirmed that parts of an explosive device was uncovered.

As for the operative who emplaced the device on the plane, we’ve confirmed that the individual did not receive any assistance from a member of the security forces – because he’s a member of the security forces himself. The individual in question used his position to circumvent the 8 explosive detection systems and security checkpoints located at the airport in order to get to his target. DMI knew how this went down fairly quickly, although our sources couldn’t answer how this fell through the cracks, although they did imply that the security forces are plagued with serious internal issues due to the rising insider threat. However, Sharm al-Sheik Airport Chief Abdel-Wahab Ali was removed from his position due to these major security lapses. The fact that the British government aired these very same concerns LAST YEAR made the decision to remove him much easier.

The Latest: Sharm El-Sheikh Airport Chief Has Been Replaced
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/11/04/world/middleeast/ap-egypt-russian-plane-crash-the-latest.html?_r=0

UK had concerns about Sharm el-Sheikh airport security almost a year ago
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/nov/05/uk-had-concerns-sharm-el-sheikh-airport-security-year-ago-egyptian-beach-resort

Sinai Plane Crash Update
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=9184

Islamic State-Sinai (IS-Sinai) aka “Wilayat Sinai (WS)”: Just entered the next stage of Operations Source: The ISIS Study Group

Islamic State-Sinai (IS-Sinai) aka “Wilayat Sinai (WS)”: Just entered the next stage of Operations
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Adding further weight to what we’ve been saying is that the Black Box reveals that the crash was not an accident. More importantly, the media (and some Western governments) are saying what we first mentioned in our “Sinai Plane Crash Update.” Excerpt:

European investigators who analyzed the two flight recorders from the Metrojet plane that went down last weekend in Egypt are categorically saying the crash is not an accident, CNN affiliate France 2 reported Friday.

The investigators said the cockpit voice recorder of Metrojet Flight 9268 shows an explosion and the flight data recorder confirms the explosion is not accidental — there is no sign of mechanical malfunction during the initial part of the flight, France 2 reported.

Everything is fine during the first 24 minutes, then in a fraction of a second there is a blackout and no more cockpit conversation, convincing investigators there was a bomb on board, according to France 2.

CNN Aviation Analyst Richard Quest said there would have been different data on the black boxes if there was a catastrophic failure than if there was an explosion. The key is what happened just before the data suddenly stops, he said.

“It’s this split second, and it’s a millisecond, where you hear an explosion of some description,” he said. “And you see all the parameters (on the recorders) go haywire before the power is completely lost. If this report is accurate, (investigators) have now analyzed that … heard it and they can identify it.”

If the plane had broken apart due to structural failure, there would have been more noise — and for a longer time, he said.

France’s air accident investigation agency, the BEA, told CNN that Egyptian officials will make an announcement about the crash investigation within the next 24 hours.

Report: Black boxes show bomb brought down Russian jet
http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/06/middleeast/russian-plane-crash-egypt-sinai/

Media now talking about the bomb being placed in the cargo hold among the luggage near the fuel line Source: CNN

Media now talking about the bomb being placed in the cargo hold among the luggage near the fuel line
Source: CNN

This wasn’t the first time WS gained access to an Egyptian airport either. Last year they recruited an employee at Cairo International Airport who provided Team Baghdadi with schematics of the facility, locations of guard postings and security procedures. Fortunately, DMI found out and arrested him before the attack plan was set into motion – which was the same plan carried out in Sharm al-Sheik. This was one of a long list of incidents – many of which were never reported by the country’s media outlets – that led to GEN Sisi authorizing the DMI to lead the crackdown on the insider threat within the security forces. From MAY 15 – JUL 15 several junior and mid-level officers within the Army were detained for either being sympathizers or full-fledged members of WS. There’s also been an increase in military personnel refusing to carry out missions against WS – not because they’re “scared” – because they “didn’t want to kill their Muslim Brothers” (which is a red flag since most Muslims would never consider IS as their “Muslim Brothers”). For the most part the military has been the main advocate for moderate Islam and secularism. Unfortunately, that all changed when the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi rose to power, where he quickly began to sack “problematic” (read-those of moderate Islam or secular leanings) officers. Then he began to fill the ranks with those he reflected his values – in other words, guys with extremist views. The result was a new breed of officers in the junior and mid-level ranks who were very sympathetic to the ideologies of al-Qaida (of which the MB is closely-aligned) and IS. WS’ increase in capability is a good indicator of the success they’ve had in recruiting personnel with formal military experience (Check out “ISIS-Sinai Beheads Croatian Hostage – Just the Beginning” for additional info).

ISIS-Sinai Beheads Croatian Hostage – Just the Beginning
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8195

Egypt’s insider threat: Morsi’s legacy Source: Sharif Abdel Minoem (Associated Press)

Egypt’s insider threat: Morsi’s legacy
Source: Sharif Abdel Minoem (Associated Press)

The bombing of that Russian airliner is the beginning of WS and IS’ Libya affiliate entering into a new phase of Team Baghdadi’s overall global campaign of conducting high-profile attacks outside of Syria and Iraq. WS followed up the plane bombing with another attack targeting an officer’s club that killed three policemen. But that’s just the start – WS fully intends to expand their operations to targeting Russians and Western tourists to both cripple Egypt’s tourism industry (which would result in significant economic damage) and retaliating for Russia’s Syria intervention. The indicators were all there with the sharp increase in the frequency and scale of attacks carried out by WS in Sinai throughout the year and this past summer in particular (Reference – “Sinai Under Siege Rising capabilities of Wilayat Sinai”). That said, the first real indicators of WS’ increased capabilities was seen as early as JAN 14 when they shot down an Egyptian military helicopter in the Sinai with a MANPAD that was traced back to one of the Qaddafi regime weapons depots that was raided by so-called “moderates” during the early days of the “Arab Spring.” In AUG 15 another attempt was made by WS to bring down an aircraft – this time a Thomson Airways airliner – as it was heading to Sharm al-Sheik Airport. Fortunately the pilot was able to perform evasive maneuvers and avoid being brought down (See the Guardian’s article titled, “Sharm el-Sheikh flight from Stansted dodged missile in August” and our initial piece on the Sinai crash, “Islamic State Claims to Have Shot-Down Russian Plane in Sinai – But Did They?”).

Egypt: 3 police officers killed in North Sinai bombing
http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/04/africa/egypt-north-sinai-bombing/

Militants Down Egyptian Helicopter, Killing 5 Soldiers
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/world/middleeast/militants-down-egyptian-helicopter-killing-5-soldiers.html

Sharm el-Sheikh flight from Stansted dodged missile in August
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/06/missed-by-a-1000-feet-how-british-holidaymakers-came-close-to-being-hit-by-a-missile-in-august?CMP=twt_gu

Sinai Under Siege Rising capabilities of Wilayat Sinai (WS)
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=7587

Islamic State Claims to Have Shot-Down Russian Plane in Sinai – But Did They?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=9157

This is just a quick snapshot of attacks that occurred in JUL 15 Source: The ISIS Study Group

This is just a quick snapshot of attacks that occurred in JUL 15
Source: The ISIS Study Group

WS also wanted to show Baghdadi that they’re an effective force capable of achieving the objectives of his external operations campaign, but also to justify that their request for additional funding. This was also a bid for obtaining heavier weaponry from IS’ Libya affiliate, who sends weapons and supplies to Syria – some of which goes through Sinai (Check out “The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS,” “2015: The Year of ISIS Expansion From Gaza to North Africa” and “The ISIS Expansion Into North Africa” for more details). We don’t think Libyan IS Emir Abu Nail will satisfy that request until after he seizes Darnah – which IS was driven out of back in JUN 15. As of this writing, IS-Libya has been busy consolidating its forces in the al-Fatayeh-area located Southeast of the city. That area is the likely staging-area from which the offensive to retake the town will be launched. The Libyan affiliate is facing a tough fight as they’re forced to take on several other opposition groups of varying jihadist flavors as well as the forces of the Egypt-back Libyan GEN Khalifa Haftar.

For the third time, Haftar’s forces fail to control Derna
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/20744-for-the-third-time-haftars-forces-fail-to-control-derna

Isis in Libya: Islamic State driven out of Derna stronghold by al-Qaeda-linked militia
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-libya-islamic-state-driven-out-derna-stronghold-by-al-qaeda-linked-militia-1506241

ISIS responsible for most Libya killings: ICC prosecutor
https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/Nov-06/321833-isis-responsible-for-most-libya-killings-icc-prosecutor.ashx

ISIS In Libya? Gadhafi Sirte Residence Searched By Islamic State For Hidden Money: Report
http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-libya-gadhafi-sirte-residence-searched-islamic-state-hidden-money-report-2139456

Warplanes bomb Libya’s Sirte, target Islamic State: witness
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/29/us-libya-security-idUSKCN0SN2JM20151029

The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1392

2015: The Year of ISIS Expansion From Gaza to North Africa
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5248

The ISIS Expansion Into North Africa…
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3257

IS’ Libya affiliate is the terror organization’s most-developed branch and has become a critical part of Baghdadi’s vision of being able to project power outside of Syria/Iraq. Its worth noting that the Libya affiliate has been tasked with providing material support to other affiliates in North Africa in addition to WS and the main effort in Syria. WS actually receives a great deal of their financial support from the Libya affiliate. In fact so much influence has been placed on bolstering the Libya affiliate that some foreign fighters have actually been diverted there. Our sources report the presence of fighters from France, Germany, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Canada and one unconfirmed report of Americans serving among the ranks. Recent reporting also suggests that a group of Indonesian jihadists are projected to be entering the country for this same purpose – other sources imply that they may have already arrived. Not only is Libya an alternative for foreign fighters who aspire to wage jihad but can’t make the trip to Syria, its a training ground for select personnel who get sent back to their countries of origin to establish their own attack networks and conduct the cell-based external operations that the IS leadership has been transitioning to over the last few months (For more info on this transition to cell-based external OPs, check out “Neil Prakash and Friends – an Update” and “Nail in the Coffin: ISIS’ Anwar al-Awlaqi BN Sends Fighters to Europe”). Think of it as IS’ way of “diversifying their terror portfolio” for their goal of launching such attacks in the West.

Neil Prakash and Friends – an Update
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8862

The Loss of Key ISIS External OPs Figures and the Anwar al-Awlaqi Battalion
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8467

Nail in the Coffin: ISIS’ Anwar al-Awlaqi BN Sends Fighters to Europe
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8562

With all this happening, what’s next for Vlad? Make no mistake, he’s going to respond – and when he does, people are either going to die or “disappear.” The big mistake the IS mothership in Syria and the Sinai affiliate made is thinking that Vlad is as soft and flaccid as President Obama. They’re going to find out real quick just how big of a mistake they made once he expands his intervention in Syria (although there will be challenges-more on that in another article) followed by enhanced collaboration with the Sisi regime – which has been steadily moving away from America and getting closer to Russia for well over a year (Check out “Egypt Atmospherics” for more details). On the flip side we assess that IS’ Caucasus affiliate (made up mostly of remnants of Imarat Kavkaz or “IK”) are going to become very active in launching attacks inside Russia itself. Although the media seized on the fact that Syria is one of Vlad’s client states, what didn’t get any real coverage are the 2,500-3,000 Russian nationals currently fighting under the IS banner in Syria – many of which are of Chechen/Dagestani/Tajik ethnicity (Reference the following for additional info – “Russia Poised to Increase Military Presence in Middle East in Response to Islamic State’s Strength,” “Islamic State’s Expansion into the Caucasus Region,” “Gulmurod Khalimov Update – His Militant Views May Not Be a Recent Development” and “Introducing Tajik Special Police COL Gulmurod Khalimov: Islamic State Defector”). At some point those foreign fighters are going to return to Mother Russia. A few already have. So if you thought this high-profile attack was an “isolated incident” that only affects Egypt, you thought wrong.

Egypt Atmospherics…
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=614

Russia Poised to Increase Military Presence in Middle East in Response to Islamic State’s Strength
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8416

Islamic State’s Expansion into the Caucasus Region
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=6880

Gulmurod Khalimov Update – His Militant Views May Not Be a Recent Development
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=7760

Introducing Tajik Special Police COL Gulmurod Khalimov: Islamic State Defector
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=7027

Egyptian locals are increasingly “Pro-Vlad” – but aren’t big fans of President Obama Source: The ISIS Study Group

Egyptian locals are increasingly “Pro-Vlad” – but aren’t big fans of President Obama
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Other Related Articles:

Haftar-Sisi Alliance: The Roadblock to ISIS Bridge Into the Maghreb
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5033

Egypt Strikes ISIS Positions in Libya: Moderate Muslims Rise Up Against Terror
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4889

Egypt and UAE Launch Airstrikes in Libya – US Kept in the Dark
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1302

Is Egypt Planning Military Intervention in Libya?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=584

Jordan Steps Up Airstrikes Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4669

Egyptian Army and IDF Take On ISIS Supporters in Sinai
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1500

Egyptian Army Hits Back At ISIS In Sinai
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2410

ISIS Plots to Bring the “Flames of War” to US, UK and Australia
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=6431&

ISIS’ Sinai Attacks Show Real Threat to Hamas

Hamas fighters (Photo: Video screenshot)

Hamas fighters (Photo: Video screenshot)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, July 3, 2015:

The attacks on Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula by the Islamic State (ISIS) this week shows why its new vow to topple Hamas in the Gaza Strip should be taken seriously. Polls show that Palestinians have the highest level of sympathy for ISIS in the Arab world with the possible exception of Syria.

ISIS has killed at least 17 Egyptian security personnel (13 soldiers and 4 police officers) and injured 30 in coordinated attacks that reflect increasing sophistication.  The Egyptian military said 70 Islamist terrorists participated and five checkpoints were assaulted. ISIS claims it struck 15 sites all at once.

The Egyptian government immediately accused the Muslim Brotherhood of involvement as it has in the past. Egypt also claims Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, is secretly supporting ISIS operations in the Sinai Peninsula. It has even threatened to attack Hamas in Gaza in response.

The Egyptian claims are questionable because of the open animosity between the two groups and ISIS’ new video pledging to conquer the Gaza Strip, but the Israeli military confirmed the links after Wednesday’s attacks. It identified two senior Hamas officials who advise ISIS and covertly arrange for hospital visits in Gaza for its injured operatives.

The Brotherhood denies involvement and its website has a statementurging Egyptians to reject violence, but the group’s double-talk is well-documented. It is simply false that the Brotherhood is completely non-violent and Brotherhood media outlets explicitly call for violence like that perpetrated by ISIS this week.

However, there does appear to be a division within the Brotherhood.Youth leaders and elements outside the country are advocating violent jihad, while the older generation repeatedly reaffirms the group’s non-violent stance in Egypt. It’s possible this is all a calculated deception. It’s also possible the rift is real and a faction would be willing to support ISIS against a common enemy.

One Brotherhood official, Mohamed Gaber, said it “seeks to use all expertise inside and outside the Brotherhood to achieve its goals at this stage,” referring to toppling the Egyptian government.

The Egyptian government’s crackdown on the Brotherhood makes it tempting for Hamas to support ISIS operations in the Sinai. Hamas may prefer a situation where its southern border is a battlefield between ISIS and Egyptian forces instead of a base for either. Plus, the Brotherhood uses every death as proof that Egypt’s crackdown is counter-productive and should end.

There are three possibilities: Claims of Hamas/Brotherhood links to ISIS in Sinai are simply wrong; the two groups simultaneously collaborate and fight with each other depending on circumstances; or there are elements within Hamas/Brotherhood that work independently with ISIS against the wishes of the leadership.

Whatever the truth is, the attacks in the Sinai show the threat to Hamas should be taken seriously.

A November 2014 poll found that the Palestinians are the most sympathetic population to ISIS in the Arab world. Only 4% view ISIS positively but if you include those who view it somewhat positively, it grows to nearly one-quarter of the population. However, another poll found that only 3% of Palestinians view ISIS’ gains positively and 88% view it negatively.

ISIS could capitalize on widespread dissatisfaction with Hamas and the situation in Gaza. ISIS’ message that Gaza is in bad shape because Hamas is not sufficiently implementing Sharia could resonate with Islamists who are struggling to understand why Hamas’ rule has not been blessed by Allah. The video also slams Hamas for being too soft on Israel.

A poll released last month shows that 50% of the population in Gaza—and an astounding 80% of the youth—want to leave. About 63% favor continuing rocket attacks on Israel. Another poll found that almost 25% would not vote if elections were held today.

Should a full-blown war between Hamas and ISIS break out that makes Gaza look like Syria, the West mustn’t embrace Hamas as the better alternative. The minute differences between them should not be exaggerated out of a desire for a side to pick. They are the two manifestations of the same enemy.

Also see:

Caroline Glick: President Sisi’s Gift

Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah al-SissiBy Caroline Glick:

Something extraordinary has happened.

On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.

Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.

On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.

According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.

In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story.’” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”

In other words, Sisi offered Abbas a way to end the Palestinians’ suffering and grant them political independence. And Abbas said, “No, forget statehood. Let them suffer.”

Generations of Israeli leaders and strategists have insisted that Israel does not have the ability to satisfy the Palestinian demands by itself without signing its own death warrant. To satisfy the Palestinian demand for statehood, Israel’s neighbors in Egypt and Jordan would have to get involved.

Until Sisi made his proposal, no Arab leader ever seriously considered actually doing what must be done. Indeed, the rejection of this self-evident Israeli claim has been so overwhelming that in recent years, every Israeli suggestion to this effect was met with raised eyebrows and dismissal by Israelis and foreigners alike.

So what is driving Sisi? How do we account for this dramatic shift? In offering the Palestinians a large swathe of the Sinai, Sisi is not acting out of altruism. He is acting out of necessity. From his perspective, and from the perspective of his non-jihadist Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian campaign against Israel is dangerous.

Facing the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the rise of jihadist forces from al-Qaida to the Islamic State to the Muslim Brotherhood, the non-jihadist Sunnis no longer believe that the prolongation of the Palestinian jihad against Israel is in their interest.

Egypt and Jordan have already experienced the spillover of the Palestinian jihad. Hamas has carried out attacks in Egypt. The Palestinian jihad nearly destroyed Lebanon and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia now view Israel as a vital ally in their war against the Sunni jihadists and their struggle against Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. They recognize that Israeli action against Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran serves the interests of non-jihadi Sunnis. And, especially after the recent conflict in Gaza, they realize that the incessant Palestinian campaign against Israel ultimately strengthens the jihadist enemies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia like Hamas.

Apparently, Sisi’s offer to Abbas is an attempt to help the Palestinian people and take the Palestinian issue out of the hands of Palestinian jihadists.

Unfortunately for Sisi and his fellow non-jihadist Sunnis, Abbas is having none of this.

In rejecting Sisi’s offer Abbas stood true to his own record, to the legacies of every Palestinian leader since Nazi agent Haj Amin el-Husseini, and to the declared strategic goal of his own Fatah party and his coalition partners in Hamas. Since Husseini invented the Palestinians in the late 1920s, their leaders’ primary goals have never been the establishment of a Palestinian state or improving the lives of Palestinians. Their singular goal has always been the destruction of the Jewish state, (or state-in-themaking before 1948).

Sisi offered to end Palestinian suffering and provide the Palestinians with the land they require to establish a demilitarized state. Abbas rejected it because he is only interested hurting Israel. If Israel is not weakened by their good fortune, then the Palestinians should continue to suffer.

For Israel, Sisi’s proposal is a windfall.

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

Understanding Benghazi: The Al Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood Connection

benghazi_bloody_handprint_APBreitbart, by COUNCIL FOR GLOBAL SECURITY:

The Hague’s International Center for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) recently released a report that shatters leftist talking points on the political situation in North Africa.

The report, titled “Security in the Sinai: Present and Future,” details not only the Sinai peninsula’s decent into chaos over the last two years, but synthesizes available research on the entire Islamist/Jihadi nexus that crosses North Africa, linking the Benghazi attack, Salafist activism undertaken by the Muslim Brotherhood, and links to what the administration’s intellectual vassals refer to as “al-Qaeda core.”

Sinai has long been a problem region for the Egyptian government, with bedouin tribes often taking advantage of a lack of governance in the peninsula during Egypt’s periods of political and economic upheaval. The most recent period of unrest is no different, with bedouin bandits engaging in criminal activity as soon as Mubarak’s political future was called into question by massive protests.

This banditry was rapidly replaced by Islamist militias connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, who targeted Coptic churches as well as Egyptian state assets, including police outposts along the trans-Sinai oil pipeline. These attacks were against the Egyptian state and economy; they were not mere acts of profit-seeking criminality. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM), the most prominent jihadist group in Egypt, went so far as to use suicide bombings against Korean tourists, explicitly stating that they intended to ruin Egypt’s economy by targeting its heavy reliance on tourism.

This jihadist insurgency is supported by a larger political infrastructure, organized under the moniker of Salafiya Jihadiya (SJ). SJ was responsible for the extremely well organized “spontaneous” protests over an obscure video that targeted U.S. Embassies and installations across the Muslim world and is led by none other than Ayman al-Zawahiri’s younger brother, Muhammad al-Zawahiri.

Muhammad Jamal Abd al Rahim Ahmad al Kashif (frequently referred to as just Muhammad Jamal) is a veteran jihadist closely affiliated with Zawahiri. Jamal was mistakenly released in 2011, and in the two years before his arrest in 2013 he was responsible for establishing jihadist training camps in Sinai, Libya, and Western Egypt. Jamal is also known to have been closely involved in the September 11, 2012 attack on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya. Upon his arrest, Jamal was discovered to have been in direct contact with Ayman al-Zawahiri, requesting assistance and reporting that groundwork had been laid for an al Qaeda enterprise in Sinai. Jamal is also believed to have trained and directed Walid Badr, a former Egyptian military officer who served as a suicide bomber in an attempt on the life of the Egyptian Minister of Interior.

With Muhammad Jamal and Muhammad Zawahiri both connected to the attack against the US consulate in Benghazi (and with Zawahiri personally present at the riot outside of the US embassy in Cairo, where the American flag was torn down and replaced by the black banner of al-Qaeda), it would defy logic to remain content with the administration’s story. But the thread doesn’t end there.

In February, the Egyptian government released intercepted recordings of phone calls between then-president Muhammad Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri. Zawahiri was formally acquitted of terrorism charges by Morsi in 2012 and was reported by CNN to be “helping” negotiations with jihadists in Sinai during Morsi’s tenure. Additional reporting, cited by the Jerusalem Post, acknowledges not only that Morsi and the younger Zawahiri were in contact, but that the Muslim Brotherhood’s original contender for the Egyptian presidency, Khariat el-Shater, was in contact with “al Qaeda core” elements in Pakistan and Palestine.

Muhammad Zawahiri’s quasi-political role in Salafiya Jihadiya, his intimate affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood’s official leadership, his association with Muhammad Jamal’s jihadist infrastructure in Sinai, and his overt and direct participation in what the administration insists was a “spontaneous protest” in Cairo and Benghazi is a damning indictment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s direct connections to al-Qaeda.

Effectively, if Muhammad Zawahiri wanted to talk to his older brother he would have had to ask Morsi if he could use his phone. In the same instance, if the “core” of al Qaeda wanted to establish contact with Muhammad Jamal, its franchise in Northern Africa, including Benghazi, it would have likely relied on the same personalities. All of the above simply reinforce the stakes of the elections today and tomorrow in Cairo. General Sisi has openly stated his commitment to crush the Brotherhood beacause of its ties to al Qaeda. A victory for Sisi would be a victory against Salafi Jihadism.

The Hague is a European institution — it is not involved in American partisan politics and has no reason to bend the facts on Benghazi and the Brotherhood to fit a partisan agenda. These are the facts of the case, and those who continue to deny that Benghazi was a result of a “larger failure of foreign policy” are finally starting to feel the heat.

The Council for Global Security is a Washington-based non-profit organization that support democracy, prosperity and the protection of minorities around the world.

 

Egypt Declares Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group

Muslim-Brotherhood-Egypt-450x344

The Muslim Brotherhood fulfills all three requirements to be labeled a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.

There are three reasons why this has not happened: The Brotherhood’s lobby, ignorance and fear.

By Ryan Mauro:

The Egyptian government formally labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group on Christmas, banning all of its activities including protests. The Obama Administration, advised by Brotherhood-friendly groups in the U.S., is unlikely to follow in Egypt’s footsteps in calling a spade a spade.

The announcement came after the government blamed the Brotherhood for the suicide bombing of a police station in Mansoura. No proof was offered of Brotherhood involvement. A pro-Al-Qaeda group named Ansar Jerusalem, based in the Sinai Peninsula, took credit.

That didn’t stop local protestors from immediately rallying against the Brotherhood, s effigies of the group’s leaders and attacking property owned by a Brotherhood member. The Egyptian public as a whole remains hostile to the Brotherhood and loyal to the military, with about half the population wanting the group outlawed. Another poll taken in August showed that almost 70% want it banned from politics.

The Brotherhood may or may not be involved in that specific bombing in Mansoura, but that doesn’t mean it is peaceful. It has threatened to form a rebel armed force. After the Egyptian military’s crackdown on the Brotherhood began, Egyptians outraged by the response of the U.S. government and media posted eye-opening videos showing Brotherhood members threatening violence, attacking Egyptian security forces and churches, and putting children at risk for the sake of propaganda.

In addition, Brotherhood preachers continue to instigate violence in Egypt and abroad. The organization knows what it’s doing. Why officially engage in violence when individual members and Salafist allies will do so on their own accord, leaving room for deniability?

The labeling of the group as terrorists comes as the government prosecutes former President Morsi and many other Brotherhood operatives. Morsi is accused of involvement in a “terrorist plan” begun in 2005 to send Brotherhood fighters to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for training by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The Obama Administration has decided to swim against the regional anti-Brotherhood wave, cutting aid to Egypt’s government and siding with the Brotherhood. The result is a realignment in alliances that pushes the Arab world into the arms of Russia.

It is extremely unlikely that the U.S. State Department will similarly designate the Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, even though it meets the qualifications. It is more likely that the administration will condemn Egypt’s latest action.

Read more at Front Page

New Evidence Ties Ousted Morsi Government to Al-Qaeda

by Raymond Ibrahim:

Days before the ousting of former Egyptian President Morsi, an Arabic-language report had said that, “al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri [brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri and a leader of al-Qaeda in Sinai], is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt].”

Muhammad Zawahiri and Muhammad Morsi: Two faces, one goal

That, of course, happened—and in a dramatic fashion, especially the attacks on the Christian Copts, who were scapegoated by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda. Indeed, hours before Morsi was ousted, Muhammad Zawahiri had declared that al-Qaeda would wage a jihad to save Morsi and his Islamization agenda for Egypt, adding that:

[I]f matters reach a confrontation, then to be sure, that is in our favor—for we have nothing to lose. And at all times and places where chaos reigns, it’s often to the jihad’s advantage…. for we sold our souls to Allah”—a reference to Koranic verses like 9:111—“and welcome the opportunity to fight to the death.”

Now, a new report confirms that, back when Morsi was still president, Muhammad Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by a presidential order form Morsi. He then fled to the Sinai, where al-Qaeda is stationed, not to mention where Morsi had reportedly earlier summoned thousands of foreign jihadis to come to his aid whenever necessary.

All of which has come to pass, including the fact that many of those eventually arrested for committing acts of violence in Egypt were not even Egyptian, as was clearly demonstrated by their Arabic dialects.

Thus, once again, we see that the differences between the “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood—in the words of the U.S. director of national intelligence—and “terroristic” al-Qaeda are actually “largely semantic.”