A strike on a vital artery of Egypt’s economy

Emad Mostaque writes: In the 14 years since 9/11, the “War on Terror” has been unsuccessful, with near $2tn spent, hundreds of thousands if not millions of civilians killed and the number of jihadists in the world up from under 1,000 to over 100,000, with these groups becoming more sophisticated and learning from their mistakes.

Unlike Algeria in the 90s, where terrorists had to hide in mountainous terrain and among underprivileged communities, new, un-decryptable communication technologies and regional chaos allow for distributed terror groups with access to powerful explosives and munitions. This presents a severe challenge when a group like Isis, whose message is designed to appeal to a limited group – primarily disillusioned Islamists, oppressed sectarians and easily malleable westerners – does not care about winning “hearts and minds”.

Even if Isis were not behind the attack (we believe it was), it has dominated the media after this event and the results of any investigation are likely to take many months, again showing its mastery of social leverage.

Just the fear of security lapses in Egypt, which are unlikely to be fixed any time soon, has led to the UK stopping flights and other airlines banning hold luggage. It is difficult to see what will reverse this. There is a key difference between this and even an attack on a hotel, a localised event that typically hits tourism for a while before it recovers, whereas hitting a key transportation mechanism is a far more profound act. [Continue reading…]

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