Yesterday (local time), Egypt said it would invest USD 315 Mn (5.23 Bn LE) in the Sinai Peninsula in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, a 75 percent rise on the year. According to officials, the venture is intended to bring stability to the region, which has been rocked by repeated violence from armed groups.
Since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in February of 2011, the Egyptian authorities have been unable to regain control of a density of the Sinai population. This has led to a security vacuum which has incubated and hatched several organizational and operational terrorist eggs in the region. Worse has been the case ever since Mohammed Moris was ousted in July 2013, followed by the crackdown on political Islam and Islamist parties.
The resurgence groups have an eye for infrastructure and security forces, including police stations, checkpoints, government offices and the Arab Gas Pipelines that runs between the North African country and Israel in north Sinai. Since the region has been thrown into a state of anarchy, it has been easy for some Bedouin populations to traffick humans, arms and drugs.
About three days ago, the Interior Ministry reported that Egyptian security forces had killed 11 terrorist elements in northern Sinai. According to the statement, a heads-up was received by officials regarding insurgents taking cover at a farm in the city of el-Arish in a bid to secretly scheme hostile operations. In a shootout which involved the police, the militants who possessed seven refiles, two explosive devices and an explosive belt, were Xed out.
An aide to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said last year that the Sinai development plan is expected to cost 275 billion Egyptian pounds and be completed by 2022, calling it “a project for national security.”
Per a Middle East Institute report, 150 policemen, 74 soldiers 57 civilians were lost their lives between July 2013 and January 2104 as a result of some of these attacks. The implications of the instability is not a growing concern for Egypt only, but its neighbors and the international community.
Egypt launched Operation Sinai in August 2012, the largest military campaign the peninsula has seen since the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. Its goal is to uncover the Islamic militants behind the security threats and possibly bring an end to the resurgence.
The government of Egypt, with the increment of investments, hopes to curb extremism further and instill stability by reducing higher-than-average unemployment.
According to a statement, North Sinai will receive LE 2.85 (around USD 172 Mn), whole South Sinai will get the balance. Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said that investments in the northern part of the region would go into education, water, agriculture, irrigation, transport, storage, real estate activities, and construction projects.
Image Courtesy: Middle East Institute