FILE - President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi
CAIRO – 26 November 2017: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman, Ahmed Abu Zeid, strongly denounced the article published by The Guardian titled, “The ‘iron fist’ response to terror attacks in Egypt never works”.
Abu Zeid expressed his “disappointment” toward the article, where the author criticized Egypt’s policy of handling terrorism. Tisdall claimed that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s “iron fist” repudiation and response to the Al-Rawadh mosque’s attack on Friday is a failed tactic.
In a tweet, Abu Zeid expressed his “outrage”, stating; “Shocked and outraged to read Guardian article by Simon Tisdall. Stark example of double standards and glorification of terrorism. Security Council res. 2354 condemns in the strongest terms the repudiating attempts at the justification or glorification of terrorist acts. #SinaiAttack”
Tisdall strongly criticized the government's policy of using “brute force” in countering terrorism.
The writer also affirmed his conviction that the government’s policy would inevitably fail, using a strongly worded metaphor.
Nevertheless, in his analysis Tisdall failed to acknowledge that Egypt and its leadership are not only resorting to brute force as a method of countering terrorism. Several initiatives were launched to counter terrorism, where the state resorted to using soft power.
The World Youth Forum was such an initiative. The forum aimed to combine youths from all over the world in one venue where they could discuss ways to combat violence in general – not just terrorism alone. Several youths even shared valiant stories of violence they have endured on the hands of terrorists.
In almost every speech Sisi has delivered, he has always stressed that ideological reformation is the strongest weapon of countering terrorism.
In undertaking such a direction, the Egyptian leadership endeavors to better the area of Sinai as a whole. A few days ago on November 19, Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr signed a deal with Kuwait worth almost LE 1 billion of investments. At the forefront of these investments comes the projects pertaining to installing water and networks in Sinai.
In April, more than LE 10 billion was allocated to creating Bedouin towns in North Sinai, as an initiative to reform the area and bring it up to par with other major cities in Egypt.
The combating strategies used by the leadership in Egypt much exceed using brute force, and they have made sure of proclaiming that numerous times. Perhaps their soft power initiatives have not proven successful yet, but those have always been known to be long-term initiatives. Soft power initiatives by default take time to cultivate, especially when the initiatives are attempting to reform issues that have accumulated in the matter of years.
A Friday bomb and gun assault on al-Rawdah mosque in north Sinai killed at least 305 people and injured 128 others.
A group of terrorists stormed the mosque in west Arish City in four off-road vehicles and opened fire on worshipers during Friday prayers after a bomb was detonated, according to eyewitnesses.
Eyewitnesses further added that terrorists set fire in nearby cars and blocked the road in al-Rawdah Village.
Reported by state media, the death and injury toll kept rising on Friday afternoon as more details got clarified.
Security forces and medical personnel immediately moved to the scene and halted traffic on Arish-Qantara Road, which leads to the damaged mosque, to scout the area and provide medical assistance to the injured.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi held an urgent meeting following the attack to stand on its latest developments and issue directives to contain the situation.
President Sisi, in a TV statement, strongly condemned the abhorrent terrorist attack and mourned the victims while extending his condolences to their families.