April 10th Kim Johnson
The first visit to Cairo by Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Thursday, March 7,heralded a new chapter in the war on the Islamic State in Sinai, one to be fought with petrodollars versus the jihadis’ war chest. The monarch brought President Abdel-Fattteh El-Sisi two large checks: a $20bn guarantee to cover the oil needs of 90 million Egyptians for the next five years, and another $1.5bn listed euphemistically under the heading of “Sinai development.”
Two-thirds of the latter sum – a cool billion dollars – has been wholly earmarked, according to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, for weaning 13 Sinai Bedouin chiefs from their commitments to supply fighters and other services to the Wilayat Sayna of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ex-Ansar Bait al-Maqdis. The Egyptian army will also acquire hi-tech intelligence tools for fighting the terrorist group holding the peninsula in its grip.
King Salman’s arrival in Cairo, his first since ascending the throne in January 2015, follows a sharp downturn in Egyptian security versus the rampant ISIS threat due to three disturbing developments in the last week of March:
1. A large group of senior ISIS officers arrived in Sinai from their Syrian Raqqa headquarters to assume command of operations against the Egyptian army and security forces. Their arrival coincided roughly with the transfer to the Golan of another group of officers to bolster the affiliated Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade posted there.
2. They carried additional orders to mount terrorist operations from Sinai against Israel. One of their plans is to land sea raiders on Israeli beaches, in the same way as ISIS gunmen attacked tourist seaside resorts in Tunisia and southern Egypt.
3. ISIS has imported into Sinai through Bedouin smuggling rings a new type of extra-powerful Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), which were recently encountered with deadly effect by Egyptian military, intelligence and security forces on Sinai roads.
The Bedouin tribesmen pose an all-encompassing threat to Egyptian forces. They are the Islamist terrorists’ eyes and ears for detecting and betraying their slightest movements in the peninsula. Furthermore, hundreds of “messengers” on motorbikes or camels carry information and orders to and from ISIS commanders before they decide whether to strike or go into hiding from a coming Egyptian assault. By using these human couriers, ISIS operatives can eschew communication by satellite networks, cell phones and social media, which are susceptible to eavesdropping.
The article is taken from debkafile exclusive article: Saudi cash boosts Egypt’s war on ISIS-Sinai after US opts out, April 8, 2016
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