Sunvoice

EDITORIAL: Escalation Of Sinai Insurgency Highlights Peacekeeping Danger

The escalation of Islamic militants’ insurgency in Sinai highlights the seriousness of the violent conflicts between the Egyptian security forces and the rebels. Six mortar rounds fired by forces aligned
13 Jun 2015 15:13
EDITORIAL: Escalation Of Sinai Insurgency Highlights Peacekeeping Danger

The escalation of Islamic militants’ insurgency in Sinai highlights the seriousness of the violent conflicts between the Egyptian security forces and the rebels.

Six mortar rounds fired by forces aligned to the Islamic State of Iraq landed in the compound of the Multi-national Force Observer (MF) headquarters. The 339 Fijian troops housed there were unharmed and safe.

Thank God that no one was hurt. There was a time when the Sinai was pretty quite compared to other trouble spots like Iraq and Syria and Southern Lebanon. Not anymore.

Our peacekeepers there are in the same position now as those in the Guard Force in Iraq and Southern Lebanon. In the Golan Heights, Syria, our troops have moved out of harm’s way to the Israeli side.

Sinai is fast becoming the new big flashpoint in Middle East conflicts.

Unlike the Golan where the peacekeepers can move quickly to Israeli territory for safety, in Sinai they do not have the same luxury. They are caught between a rock and a hard place. There is no place to scamper to during an emergency. They just have to stick it out and hope for the best.

Out of the 11 countries in MFO, Fiji contributes one of the largest forces. Risks, therefore, will always be high. Again the latest incident highlights the danger that our brave peacekeepers face in the line of duty.

From Sinai to other theatres of conflicts, the threat of serious injury and even death always hangs over our troops. It’s the ultimate sacrifice they make for the cause of peace in the Middle East and other volatile regions. In the Sinai, our troops are faced with a difficult threat which consists of different terrorist groups vowing to cripple and defeat the Egyptian security forces and capitalise on the anarchy to impose their will and power.

One of the fastest growing militant groups, Sinai Province, is an affiliate of the feared Islamic State of Iraq whose brand of extreme violence, has shocked the world. Torture and barbaric forms of executions like beheadings are exacted on those who do not believe or support their ideologies. According to a Reuters report, IS affiliate forces fired mortars at the direction of the airport used by MFO forces. It is understood six of those fell on MFO compound which houses the Fijians. It is extremely worrying when peacekeepers are attacked. It shows that the attackers have no respect for the peacekeepers and their mission for peace. Luckily, no one was injured.

The Sinai mission has come a long way since it was opened. But the Sinai insurgency by Islamist militants began after the start of the Egyptian Crisis, which saw the overthrow of long-time Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and the response from the interim Egyptian government after mid-2011, known as Operation Eagle and then Operation Sinai. Bedouin tribesmen exploited the anarchy and weakened central authority to launch a series of attacks on government forces in Sinai.

The Egyptian coup of 2013, which toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi triggered unprecedented clashes. Elements of the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis group claimed allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and proclaimed themselves as the “Sinai Province”. Militant attacks continued into this year.

It is also understood that militants based in Libya have established ties with Sinai Province.

We salute all our peacekeepers for their courage and commitment to duty under extremely difficult circumstances. Let’s pray for them so that they can be kept safe and their families find peace and comfort during these worrying times.

 

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 




Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper