An Intelligence Operational Failure Foretold

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Arie Egozi

The investigation of the Russian plane crash continues but all signs points to ISIS. Egypt is trying to reject the obvious conclusion and it is obvious why – if the plane had been knocked down by the terror organization working in Sinai, then it is the absolute proof that Cairo has failed spectacularly in the war against it.

Israel has been asking for months now how it is possible that the Egyptian military, who has been operating in Sinai with no restrictions and no eyes of human rights organizations prying, is failing to defeat ISIS.

The answer is of course complicated, but it is obvious that what is being done is simply not enough. The Egyptian military has no other front to deal with right now and can gather great forces in Sinai. Far from any Western media coverage, it can do whatever it likes and engage in a fierce battle against the murderous terror organization.

But that is not being done – not with enough force, anyway.

“Our military operations (against terror) has achieved 90% of its goals”, declared Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in an interview to the BBC during his visit to Britain. This declaration put a bitter smile on the lips of experts in Israel.

From examining what is being done in Sinai so far, it seems that Egyptians are putting an emphasis on managing ground battles in areas where ISIS terrorists are gathering. Egypt’s battle strategy for fighting terror relies on ground and air battles in predefined territories, sealing the border between Sinai and the Gaza strip, stopping weapon transportation from the western border with Libya and the southern border with Sudan and putting curfews and closing settlements in the north of Sinai, particularly Al-Arīsh, Sheikh Zowaiid and others around them.

Israel has known for some time that this is not enough. They know, and still they can’t exactly comprehend Cairo’s strategy in Sinai.

Perhaps now, after the economic damage that the Russian plane crash is causing in Egypt, something will change. Israeli experts seem to estimate as much.

Russia, whose plane was crashed to the ground, is unlikely to sit still. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that the Russian air force will receive authorization to operate in Sinai. Egypt is not Syria, where the Russians simply stated a fact, but Cairo and Moscow becoming closer could create a scenario in which an active Russian intervention will take place.

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