Publication: Armed Conflict Survey 2017
09 May 2017
Egypt Despite reports of a decrease in violence in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt failed to quell the jihadist insurgency in the region in 2016. There, the security forces often faced deadly attacks by Wilayat Sina (Sinai Province), an affiliate of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, that dominated the insurgency throughout the year. Elsewhere in Egypt, radicalised cells of Muslim Brotherhood members and anti-coup operatives became more focused in their terrorist campaign – as was underlined by the formation of Hassm (Determination) and Liwa al-Thawra (Brigades of the Revolution) in the second half of 2016. Although most Egyptians remained largely unsympathetic to Islamist activity, they grew increasingly disenchanted with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. Police brutality, forced disappearances and arbitrary detention stoked heavy criticism of the security forces, and made international headlines with the death of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni in January. Sisi’s popularity was severely damaged by his attempt to cede control of two islands in the Red Sea, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia. The agreement led to significant tension between Cairo and Riyadh, which had been the Sisi regime’s most important backer since it came to power in 2013. Forced to contend with severe economic problems, Sisi also faced significant challenges in attempting to stabilise the country.