Egypt State Information Service (SIS)
Analytical Report by the State Information Service
Sunday، 11 February 2018 - 07:06 PM
"Sinai 2018 " : International Media Coverage between Muslim Brotherhood Propagated Lies and Tangible Realities
On February 9, 2018, “the Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” was launched to purge terrorism from Sinai and put an end to this threat that has been on the rise since the Egyptian people sparked their June 30, 2013 Revolution to topple the Muslim Brotherhood rule and break apart their alliance with all terrorist and extremist groups. Once launched, “the Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” gained tremendous and increasing attention from all international media outlets either through news or analytical coverage. In view of the intensity of such media coverage of “Sinai 2018”, the State Information Service is keen to highlight a number of basic remarks as regards the international media coverage of certain issues closely related to “Sinai 2018” as follows:
Issues Related to the Armed Forces
Based on the Egyptian Constitution preamble that forms with all its articles an indivisible text, the Egyptian Army has always been the “pillar of the Egyptian State” since Mohammed Ali established the modern Egyptian State; it was the Egyptian Army that backed the Egyptian national will in both the January 25 and the June 30 revolutions that called for freedom and human dignity under the umbrella of social justice, thus paving the way to restore Egypt’s independent will.
Henceforth,” the Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” that was launched by the Armed Forces and the Police in full cooperation with all the state institutions comes to crystallize the historical and constitutional role of the Egyptian Army being the shield and armor that protects the homeland, safeguards its security and preserve the integrity of its territories. On the other hand, “Sinai 2018” comes to unveil the blatant lies and sheer fraud harboured by the Muslim Brotherhood, its terrorist allies and the two countries that support them; lies that are blindly circulated by some international media outlets claiming that the developmental role undertaken by the Army overshadows its defensive role; a web of lies that has been demolished by “Sinai 2018”. Over the last four years, the Egyptian Army has relentlessly continued enhancing its operational combat capabilities, thus ranking for the first time as the tenth strongest army worldwide in 2017. Henceforth, this ranking stands as the clearest evidence that the Egyptian Army developmental role has never overshadowed its combat capabilities, bearing in mind the important fact that the Egyptian Army is an army composed only of Egypt’s sons.
Issues Related to Sinai
Lately, the Muslim Brotherhood, its terrorist allies and the two countries that support them fuelled some malicious rumors that are circulated by some international media outlets on conditions in Sinai. “The Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” came to expose the falsity of such rumors as follows:
- “The Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” comes to assert, leaving no room to doubts, that the Egyptian sovereignty over the Sinai Peninsula is complete, comprehensive and undiminished; the Egyptian Armed Forces, the police and all the state institutions are freely deployed on every inch of Sinai Peninsula, enjoying complete sovereignty with no single dispute or restriction from any party.
- In view of its large scale, being one of the most massive military operations led solely by the Egyptian Armed Forces in cooperation with all the state institutions, “The Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” comes to dispose the barefaced lies circulated lately by some international media outlets regarding alleged “military interference” by some regional parties in Sinai to combat terrorism; being the tenth strongest army worldwide, the Egyptian Army is in no need of any external assistance; in addition, it would never allow any external interference that may violate its complete sovereignty over every inch of Sinai.
- “The Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” comes to assert that Egypt’s stance towards attempts by some of the world’s super powers to impose their vision as regards combating terrorism in Sinai; the Egyptian leadership has firmly insisted to combat terrorism independently by the Armed Forces, police and all the state institutions. This rejection by the Egyptian state of any external interference has been clearly highlighted in the December 18, 2017 New York Times article entitled “Actually, Egypt Is a Terrible Ally”, by Andrew Miller and Richard Sokolsky”; the article states that “Cairo consistently has ignored American offers to train Egyptian forces in the counterinsurgency doctrine and tactics that could help defeat the insurgency in Sinai”, and based on their own words, the article writers considered Egypt “A Terrible Ally”.
- “The Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” comes to practically and unmistakably expose the nasty lies spread by the Muslim Brotherhood, its terrorist allies and the two countries that support them and circulated by some international media outlets as regards the “alleged Palestinian state in Sinai”; has the main target of “Sinai 2018” been purging terrorism from Sinai, it comes within the framework of the Egyptian state unshakable stance to practice its complete sovereignty on every inch of Sinai peninsula. Egypt has repeatedly rejected all these allegations and deem them as sheer fraud; the falsity of such allegations is asserted by a number of indicators as follows:
1- On January 31, 2015 and subsequent to a heinous terrorist act that targeted the Armed Forces and left dozens of causalities and injuries, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi firmly asserted in a televised address in the presence of military commanders “we will never leave Sinai to any one, either Sinai remains for the Egyptian or we would better die”.
2- On February 23, 2017, and subsequent to the meeting President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held with members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the Supreme Council of the Police, the Spokesman of the Presidency rejected the blatant lies and the alleged claims of “resettling Palestinians in Sinai”, stating that “it is inconceivable to engage with such unrealistic and unacceptable propositions, given the countless sacrifices by the people of Egypt in Sinai throughout its history”. The Spokesman also stressed the “importance of not paying attention to such unfounded rumors which seek to create confusion and mistrust in the State”.
3- On February 28, 2017, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with the participants in the Presidential Leadership Program for the Youth and firmly said “day after day in Sinai, people are sacrificing their lives and die for Egypt to live; Sinai will remain always for the Egyptians and not as claimed by some who spread allegations to negatively affect the Egyptians”
4- In the early morning of the first day of the “Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018”, Hamas movement made an announcement that a senior leadership delegation from Hamas reached Cairo led by the Movement head of the political bureau Ismail Haniyeh; the visit comes as part of previous arrangements within the framework of consultations with Egypt to ease the life of Gaza’s residents. Furthermore, the visit is a follow-up on the implementation of the internal reconciliation based on the deals that were brokered by the government in Cairo. Also on the agenda will be talks regarding the joint efforts to protect the Palestinian cause in the face of more Israeli settlements and the latest US move on Jerusalem. Here pops up an important question that is sufficient to expose the barefaced lies and unfounded rumors as regards the alleged claims of “resettlement of Palestinians in Sinai” and the malicious failing attempts to find a link between these allegations and the “Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018”: Can the most recent high-level visit paid by the senior leadership Hamas delegation, and their previous similar visit in September, 2017 be consistent with the blatant lie of “resettling Palestinians in Sinai” except in one case i.e. Hamas Movement would be a part of the “alleged attempt of this resettlement”? As it is well-known for all, both Hamas Movement and the Palestinian Authority adopt a firm rejection of the idea of “resettlement of Palestinians in Sinai”; this has always been reiterated by President Mahmoud Abbas who also asserted that this idea has never at any stage been proposed by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi; the same assertion that the Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency has repeatedly made. On April 5, 2016, the Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency said “all these are unfounded rumors; Egypt and the Egyptian President spare no effort to establish the aspired-for independent Palestinian state on June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital”. So here is a question that we all need to ask, “Do some international media outlets deal with both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority assertions as “lies” and deal with the blatant lies and malicious propaganda spread by the Muslim Brotherhood, their terrorist allies and the two countries that support them as “facts”?
Issues Related to Combating Terrorism in Egypt
A number of international media outlets circulated some false analysis regarding efforts of combating bloody terrorism in Egypt; their coverage focused on two main issues:
1- Terrorism Political Solution
It is both inconceivable and unreasonable to try to link between the bloody terrorism that Egypt confronts inside and outside Sinai with thousands of causalities and injuries on one hand and what some media outlets claim as “political solutions” to this heinous threat on the other hand; political solutions that these outlets falsely claim that the Egyptian State failed to adopt. A number of important questions are sufficient to expose the falsity of such claims as follows:
- Since the nineties of this century, as the phenomenon of international terrorism unmasked its ugly face with the appearance of al-Qaeda, and then with the emergence of ISIS, did any country agree to adopt any kind of negotiations with these terrorist groups; did international media outlets suggest that their governments should open channels for these terrorist groups to practice politics and be part of the society so as to stop their bloody terrorist practices?
- If the answer of the first question is “No” and that has never happened in the world before, why do some ask Egypt for what has never taken place before?
- Didn’t the United States, the most major democracy in the world, invade Afghanistan and Iraq, allegedly for combating terrorism without any prior political procedures with the two governments?
- Didn’t 70 states from all over the world unite in 2014 in one military alliance to confront ISIS, without raising the possibility of conducting negotiations with this terrorist group?
2- Media Block-out
This means the claimed allegations of some international media outlets that data available on the “Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” is so scarce, thus calling upon the Egyptian authorities to release more details on the number of fighting forces and troops participating in the Operation, the kind of weapons they use and the time and geographical scope of this military operation. In addition, some criticized the decision of banning Egyptian and foreign media representatives from being present in the confrontation scene in northern Sinai to conduct field media coverage. This kind of criticism has been repeatedly voiced before since the very beginning of the comprehensive military confrontation of terrorism in Sinai. First, since the “Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018” was launched, the State released a number of statements announcing the beginning of the Operation and its main objective; furthermore, more statements are released by the State covering the developments without prejudice to the military and security considerations so as to safeguard the lives of the participating troops, ensure the success of the military operations and preserve the safety of correspondents. Second, some Egyptian and foreign media correspondents are already resident in Sinai, undertaking their mission according to the previously mentioned considerations. Third, the scope available for media coverage in Sinai is undoubtedly larger in comparison to that allowed for media coverage in many democratic countries all over the world in cases of war when no permission is given except to military correspondents who become embedded within the fighting forces, not to mention the strict surveillance they are always prone to, leaving them with one task i.e. publishing official statements. Some journalists have been punished for violating these strict restrictions; what took place during the two US wars in Iraq is still fresh and vivid in the international media memory.
3- Civilian losses in Combating Terrorism:
Muslim Brotherhood, their terrorist allies, the two countries that support them, in addition to some international media outlets have strived to propagate lies and allegations that civilians and their properties in Sinai have been affected by the ongoing operations to combat terrorism within the "Comprehensive Military Operation Sinai 2018". There are two aspects to clarify the falsity of these allegations and lies:
First: These allegations and lies come within a political war propaganda launched by those elements in their desperate battle to target the Egyptian State and its political system that the Egyptian people have chosen. Circulating those allegations and lies by the international media outlets requires adequate evidences. There are hundreds of thousands of Egyptian residents in Sinai and other workers and visitors who stay there, proving that these media outlets are lying. The international media outlets have fallen into the trap of black propaganda by describing the injured and dead from the terrorist elements as "civilians" which professionally violates the criteria that should be followed in asserting description. This is also in contradiction with the fact that the international law and local laws shall not grant the terrorists and their organizations the military status, they are "outlawed civilians "who have joined and led illegitimate military militias.
Second: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is always keen to assert that the armed and law enforcement forces are committed to continuing operations to combat terrorism in Sinai while protecting the lives and properties of civilians. President Sisi gave his directives on 11 January, 2017 during a meeting with army and police commanders to firmly continue targeting the terrorist hotbeds, and simultaneously preserving the safety of civilians at scenes of confrontation. In his interview with CNBC, on 7 November, 2017, President Sisi said: "We are keen during our confrontation with such terrorism that no innocent civilians be harmed in a war in which they have no stake". On 19 January 2018, President Sisi said :" Protecting the lives of innocent citizens and civilians is the reason behind taking that long time in the confrontation between the State and terrorists".
Whereas some international media are circulating and spotlighting lies of the Muslim Brotherhood, their terrorist allies and the two countries that support them to distort the legitimate war Egypt is waging against terrorist groups in Sinai with ultimate protection of the innocent civilians, they are silent over, or just tacitly refer to the atrocities the civilians are exposed to in Syria and Iraq by the attacks of the international alliance in confrontation of Daesh. Some specialized organizations like "Airwars" estimate that number of dead innocent civilians ranges between 400-600 in Syria and Iraq during 2017 besides dozens of thousands of injured.