Egypt army launches major operation against ‘terrorists’ in Sinai and Nile Delta

Egyptian security forces have been conducting operations in the Sinai Peninsula involving the army, air force and police to defeat a persistent Daesh insurgency. (AFP)
Updated 09 February 2018
0

Egypt army launches major operation against ‘terrorists’ in Sinai and Nile Delta

CAIRO: Egypt on Friday launched a major security operation involving the army and police against “terrorist and criminal elements and organizations” across the country, the army spokesman said.
The army spokesman said the operation covers areas in Sinai, the Delta and the Western Desert and it follows a three-month deadline set by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to crush a years-long Islamist insurgency.
“The law enforcement forces began this morning implementing the comprehensive confrontation against the terrorist and criminal elements and organizations in northern and central Sinai,” an army spokesman said in a televised statement.
The army spokesman said the operation will involve operational and training maneuvers to tighten state control on the country’s crossing points with neighboring countries, and urged full cooperation with the law enforcement forces involved in the operation.
Residents reported hearing extensive air activities above the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, which is close to the area of operations in northern and central Sinai.
Security forces have for years battled a Daesh insurgency in North Sinai that has killed hundreds of soldiers and police. The militants have expanded their targets to include civilians over the last year or so.


Qatar defies Trump, bails out Turkey with $15bn investment pledge

Updated 15 August 2018
0

Qatar defies Trump, bails out Turkey with $15bn investment pledge

  • Emir's support for Erdogan comes amid trade, diplomatic spat with US
  • The Turkish currency has lost nearly 40 percent against the dollar this year

JEDDAH: Qatar defied US President Donald Trump on Wednesday and promised to plough $15 billion into Turkish financial markets and banks, amid a collapse in the value of the lira and a looming trade war between Turkey and the United States.

The bail-out followed talks in Ankara between the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

The lira has lost nearly 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan’s growing influence on the economy and his refusal to raise interest rates despite high inflation.

Last week the US doubled tariffs on aluminium and steel imports from Turkey, during a dispute over Turkey’s detention of an American pastor on security charges that the US views as baseless.

In response, Erdogan launched a boycott of US electrical products and sharply raised tariffs on other US imports.

Turkey and Qatar have become close economic and political partners. Doha has $20 billion worth of investments in Turkey, and Ankara is one of the top exporters to the emirate. Sheikh Tamim was the first foreign leader to call Erdogan after the aborted coup in Turkey in 2016, and Turkey — along with Iran — is one of the few countries to support Qatar against the boycott by the Saudi-led Anti-Terror Quartet over Doha’s financing of terrorism. 

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar, said Qatar was now facing a “big, big” problem.

“This is what happens when you choose to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds,” he told Arab News, and Doha would have to choose either Washington or Ankara.

“The Americans have their base at Al-Udeid in Qatar and so naturally they will expect Qatar to toe their line in the current spat.

“Qatar has gravitated toward Turkey because of the Muslim Brotherhood link and the Iranian connection so now it finds itself in an unenviable situation. If they side with Turkey, they run the risk of antagonizing US President Donald Trump. If they back the American position on Turkey tariff penalties, then they lose Turkey.”

Al-Shehri said Ankara appeared to have blackmailed Qatar into supporting it. “They said they came to Qatar’s support during Doha’s row with its Arab neighbors, and now it was Qatar’s turn to pay back the favor.”