Egypt (Sinai)

Status
Medium-intensity

Conflict Summary

The Sinai Peninsula was at the centre of the Camp David Peace Accords of 1978, which led to the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979. Captured and controlled by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967, Sinai was returned to Egypt in 1982, laying the foundation for the historic land-for-peace agreement. The peace accord stipulated a minimised military presence in Sinai, which, combined with neglect, poor infrastructure and underdevelopment, ultimately meant that no Egyptian government fully asserted control over the Peninsula and its frustrated Bedouin population. When former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2011, the ensuing security vacuum destabilised the Sinai Peninsula and heightened militant activity in North Sinai. Sporadic attacks targeted Israel, the Egyptian military apparatus, oil and gas pipelines, international peacekeepers, tourists as well as residents of Sinai. However, the situation deteriorated when a coup d’état overthrew elected president Mohammad Morsi in July 2013.

The intermittent violence escalated into an organised insurgency that has since spread to the rest of the country, including the Suez Canal region, Delta region, Cairo and Alexandria. Despite ongoing counter-insurgency operations, armed groups in Sinai have continued to launch large-scale attacks against the military. The deadliest group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, declared allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in November 2014 and renamed itself ‘Sinai Province’.