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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 293  Al Jazeera  October 22, 2017 3:32am-4:01am AST

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sixteen people have been killed in an ambush in security forces in the western desert the police officers were raiding a hideout and the voices when they came under fire from fighters no one has claimed responsibility for the attack five living former u.s. presidents are joining forces for a charity concert to support how to can relief the one america appeal concert in texas that will raise money for people affected by how to me and tens of thousands of people were displaced after the storms hit the u.s. and the caribbean president donald trump's expected to send a video recording to concert goers. donald trump says he won't block the release of classified government documents about the assassination of john f. kennedy and the killing in dallas in one thousand nine hundred eighty three spawned numerous conspiracy theories that have enjoyed for decades congress set a deadline on thursday of the documents released trump says he'll make them available unless law enforcement agencies provide compelling reasons against it
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protesters in a straight have held rallies in support of legalizing same sex marriage a week before a post on the issue closes the largest crowd was in sydney where thousands marched through the city to call for equal rights eleven million votes have been returned that's nearly seventy percent of the total. and those are the headlines the news continues here on al-jazeera inside story on the scene about how often have life and death. i would . dozens of egyptian police are killed in a gun battle in the desert as a state of emergency remains in force how is the government dealing with recurrent
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attacks and is the security crackdown in egypt working this is inside story. the earth . with. hello welcome to the program i'm jane dothan the killing of dozens of policeman in egypt is raising more questions about how secure the country really is the police convoy was ambushed in the western deserts in the latest gun battle of these fifty five police were killed and others wounded fifteen attackers were reportedly killed police were following a tip off about a possible hideout of an armed group a state of emergency has been enforced in egypt since earlier this year when dozens of minority christians were killed in a series of attacks on churches each of facing attacks from at least two armed
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groups concentrated in sinai and i solicited it and a group called hossam a many particularly in the media have accused them of carrying out the latest attack movements claimed several attacks over the past year which have targeted judges and police as well as the attempted murder of egypt form a grand mufti the egyptian government says hossam is a part of the band muslim brotherhood which denies the allegation. ns asm is gained power over the past four years and general of the fact that all c c ousted president mohamed morsi of the muslim brotherhood has an appears to target police and the security services in contrast to other groups such as i salute frequently target civilians both muslim and christian now the christian minority which is about ten percent of the egyptian population is often targeted similar previous attacks have included around thirty christians were killed in may when a bus carrying them to monastery in many
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a province was attacked on palm sunday in april at least forty five church goes were killed and dozens wounded in two separate suicide attacks on churches in the cities of tanta and alexandria and cairo as large as all the docks church was bombed last december killing at least twenty five people eisel claimed responsibility for most of those attacks well let's bring in our guests now joining us from cairo on skype is timothy kaldis nonresident fellow institute for middle east politics from berlin ahmad badawi senior researcher for the center for middle eastern and north african politics at the free university of berlin of mit is also the author of the political economy of egypt and a c.c. and in london in black visiting senior fellow at the middle east center at the london school of economics a very warm welcome to all three of you let me start off with you timothy kaldis a staggering loss for the egyptian security services what do you hearing about
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today's events and how it unfolded or not there's a lot of conflicting reports. some people saying fourteen killed some something thirty something over fifty. there's also a lot of confusion about who's responsible no official claim of responsibility and the state's response so far is to say a number of security officers were killed but not to specify that number. a parliamentarian who's close to the government stuff about three claims that as many as one hundred. militants ambushed the security forces that would be a quite remarkable number of turns out to be anywhere near true that's a that's a huge gathering. of militants in one place. there she's also saying that there's many casualties but again not specifying so is a lot of confusion at the moment there isn't there hasn't been a lot of clarity on what's going on and where the victim count stands exactly and
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tim wondering what sort of impact this has on a place like like way you are when people hear about such staggering losses the fact that this insurgency continues to rumble on and that we seeing it pop up in different places well i mean the response so far has been a lot of people. mourning the victims mourning the losses expressing condolences to the families there's been a lot of that there's been some questions about how this could happen. with the intel it's not that it properly how did they get put in the situation there are been reports including from becky that there was issues with communication in the area because cell phone signal is weak someone else pointed out well you wouldn't expect the police to be using cell phones to communicate you'd be expecting them to use radios. so there's there's i mean so there's two different types of responses and there's a natural human response to to offer condolences for such
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a huge loss in the same time there's a lot of questions about how this could happen and why it's not being why there isn't more information being put forward also the press is kind of in an awkward position in terms of reporting on it because while the international press has been putting out numbers in egypt it's illegal to discuss to say anything about terrorism related operations without that differs in any way from the government's official position official statements so for the aid for the egyptian for us to come out with any figures that contradict the government they could be at risk of legal consequences i'm so i'm a bit dolly what did you think when you heard what happened and the way it happened and the losses. the first initial reaction of course was surprise. the latest reports talk of about fifty plus casualties from the egyptian security side. i wonder how many how many does it take to inflict that high number of casualties on
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a supposedly a highly trained security service like the ships or security service because you would think that if they went on from there then they they possibly had some sort of intel on what they were about to face this is the other point that i wanted to make because there are also reports that the insurgents have received information about the operation and they were ready for it but that again throws some very serious questions about how much is this shipshape security service ben it's rated by by the insurgents. there is definitely an issue with efficiency this is not the first time that security services whether it's the ministry of interior or the or the military. have such such a large loss but this time is even more. demoralizing because that apparently there was diet of combat between the security services and the insurgents and again through those many question marks about the capacity of
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the egyptian state to fight the insurgency and don't forget the big part of the legitimacy of the current regime is pinned on the capacity of the regime to fight terrorism and until now very few victories in this fight so far that would be pretty staggering wouldn't it in black if the security services have been infiltrated to such an extent where there are harming their own i mean what do you make of the most recent attack and what it portrays of what's going on in the country. already i think the first thing to say is a. the sheer scale of it is really quite shocking i think that if you follow what's happening in egypt you are accustomed to hearing every so often of attacks which take place it has to be said mostly in sinai of course there have been incidents in the nile valley as well but something on this scale if the reports are correct and
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i don't see where they shouldn't be if i think fifty five dead members of the security forces. south what is it south west of cairo in the desert that is that is a very very serious incidents and will attract you know. unusual attention to what's going on the scale of the insurgency if it can involve numbers like this is very very striking and you raise an important point sorry about not the fact that they are seeing these attacks seem to be springing up in why this area is don't they they seem to be finding new targets well i mean you know the conventional view of egypt would say there is a quite a serious insurgency going on in the sinai peninsula. that is clearly linked to isis to die i was just reading something there were
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a couple of attacks in the last few days by the way before this which would have attracted less attention because they're more common but on a smaller scale there was one. on the coast of sinai and another in. the way they think so attacks in sinai are common they tend to be relatively small scale this is a different matter it's in the it's in the heartland of egypt proper and the size of it is it's is is really breathtaking the other issue seems to me interested to hear what the other two guests say we don't really know definitively who these people are there is this movement called has some. which is an arabic acronym. who is it i've seen reports that it is linked to the group to market this which was the isis affiliate if you like in sinai which is now using a different name there are claims of course from the egyptian government that it is
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linked to the muslim brotherhood which as you said denies that but who they actually are what is behind these attacks in the getting from sinai that is a very very big question. of this size or an incident of this size is clearly going to require some clear answers than we've had already i would have thought timothy who comes to mind first of all an end was correct how the government very keen to blame how some annoys the muslim brotherhood whenever there is any particular strike but does this bear any resemblance to any of other groups that we've seen recently i mean. who could do such a thing i just i just respond to one thing that you know brought up. whoever's claiming that housman and the bit to mock this are connected. that's a very that's a very spurious claim i'm not saying that you know that but. that seems to be very unlikely their targets are different their tactics are different their
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propaganda is different. they seem to be quite ideologically distinct. with respect to the brotherhood i mean it's very possible that people who left the brotherhood would would be attracted to a group like hudson that it is focusing on the security forces in response to the removal of morsy we've seen that in the past brotherhood members who. are unsatisfied with tactics that don't involve violence against the state losing. and moving on to more militant groups it's happened many times in the past whether or not there's a direct connection between the brother and has so far there's really no clear evidence to support. so for now we don't really have any basis for confirming that . yes should of course the judges will want to associate all violence against the state with the brotherhood of possible as constantly security officials who will do interviews and say that sort of thing i saw i saw an officer doing that on egyptian t.v. today and also for being cut to answer the question and saying that they're funding
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all these groups as well particularly because when you get into the western desert you've got groups that are also coming that are in contact with people in libya there's arms moving back and forth. so there's suggestion that those groups are connected. ok let me ask you you think it might be and it there's such. widespread concern that egypt is a very good green breeding ground for these types of groups now because of the repression repressive measures measures taken by the government the economic conditions of the country at the moment i mean what do you think is happening and houses what is this festering into well i think there is a security dimension to this and there is a political dimension to this which we should not forget in terms of the security dimension of course what happened in the last four years has radicalized a lot of young people whether they are affiliated to the muslim brothers or salafist or just independent islamists they got radicalized and it was not
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difficult for them i suppose to make the simple connection between the oppression of the regime and the need to fight this regime with force on the political dimension there is obviously absolutely nobody can deny that there is a link between what's happening now and the overall political stalemate in the country the ousting of the muslim brothers from power in such a violent way four years ago is the direct cause for the islamist insurgency that has been going on since then without some kind of a political settlement some kind of a solution to this this problem this this fight between the regime and the muslim brothers i think this insurgency will continue and i think it's quite ironic that the egyptian regime has taken credit for reconciling thought the hummus and cannot do the same with its own counterpart in egypt it cannot get its own house in order
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without some kind of. reintegration of the muslim brothers in the political process the insurgency is likely to continue and that's the political dimension of all these all this violence that we've seen recently ok we'll talk more about the politics a little later on but and let's talk about. hamas i mean that's a very good point edge it egypt has been overseeing the latest reconciliation between hamas and fatah we've had hamas move into egypt they have become increasingly close will that lead to an improvement in security because egypt often blamed hamas for allowing weapons to be smuggled into egypt behind. accuse them of being behind some of the violence when i think that the i think it's clear that the egyptian role which is very very important in trying to bring about the reconciliation three hamas and fatah the two palestinian movement is to
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a considerable degree motivated by their own security concerns there's no question that the situation in sinai with the where the insurgency has been going on there for for quite a while is a matter of enormous concern to the authorities in in cairo so there's egyptian security there's a question of palestinian unity and we have seen in the last couple of weeks these really extraordinary images of the head of egyptian intelligence embracing the mass leaders in gaza as they try to try to broker this and there's also. plenty of comment to the effect that the recent attacks particularly a couple earlier this week. in sinai were in response to the egyptian reprobation all with hamas which is seen as i think correctly is inimical to the interests of the of the reliance you know the sinai. the the isis affiliate in sinai so i think that's very clear that the egyptian
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motivation is about is about that remember these are people who really didn't like each other at all the egyptians always associated hamas with the muslim brotherhood and there's no question about the hostility of the c.c. government. to the muslim brotherhood which you think i might as well would be a little but did i miss this latest development and the overtures towards hamas the fighting in sinai i mean well i think why does it leave them i mean i think well i think actually the israelis in the short to medium term are probably quite happy with this. i mean this is this is really a different issue what the israelis how the israelis see in trip either stinney and reconciliation but i think they have a short term interest in calming the situation in the gaza strip but no expectation that they will be faced with a difficult choice about the inclusion of how medicine some kind of peace
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initiative they've been very aggressive on that point and insisting that it has to recognize israel and give up violence conditions which are at the highly unlikely to be met in the shorter term i think they probably would welcome. anything that calms the situation in sinai it's on their borders and they've been attacks rocket attacks from from within sinai into israeli territory so they're a short term if you like military security calculations and different longer term political ones what's really interesting is the way the egyptians are taking the lead in this the link to this latest incident this big one that we're discussing today is that well we're used to talking about these things in sinai here is a hugely damaging incident taking place somewhere quite different. and you know possibly far harder to deal with given given its location and i also would agree with what i think timothy said the proximity relative proximity of the libyan borders is an important part of the security dimension of this story was not long
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ago there was a report of egyptian security forces stopping a convoy of arms coming across that border so i think we need perhaps to look east west i'm sorry to understand the the logistics of this sort of incident so to me if he. what we see this insurgency is becoming increasingly spent and we seeing it of a different parts of the country what's going to push this insurgency away i mean obviously egypt's going to have to deal with its own political problems before can look at the the wider picture here. with respect to. more effective counterinsurgency strategy is of course it would be there's a lot of people who would like to see to move towards better practices in terms of how it's dealing with the insurgency in terms of its relationship with people in sinai moving away from a very forceful and scorched earth type approach to something that yes they feel as i have been treated like second class citizens that they've been really done by the
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government. absolutely in there and the right in feeling that way their access to necessary infrastructure such as schools and medical facilities has been very limited more over there and behave better when that can even successfully get a national id card for a while so i mean there's a lot of problems in terms of their treatment and the way the state perceives that mets kind of fifth column in some ways which obviously makes it easier to recruit. or at least deter them from cooperating with state security so moving away from that and building a cop it's very important i think that the mass incarceration that we see in egypt makes prisons a breeding ground for extremism and makes it easy for more militant prisoners to radicalize others who who just have grievances against the state. and there's been reports of that from from one political prisoner who's been released it's gone. he said he witnessed that firsthand while he was being held in prison and so certainly
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we have to look at the the mass incarceration problem the political trials and the kind of broad sense of injustice that political and i know that and i've made what about sisi turning a page not i'm just wondering if he's if he's capable of doing that being a military mad i mean he's decimated the muslim brotherhood there is no opposition he's got control of the media the judiciary why doesn't he include groups not like the muslim brotherhood why doesn't he try a different tactic because what's happening now is not with king. that's a very good question i think he's not doing that because nothing is forcing him to do that there's no incentive for him to do that he believes and think this is a traditional way of thinking for the egyptian stayed that it's a strong good that it can win the fight that it can win it militarily it's very important to note this and i think the point to that but let me just what he said.
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it is very important that even though all these terrorist violent insurgent attacks whatever you want to call them even though their own look similar they are filled by different underlying dynamics so in sinai the grievances of the people there are . just explained is fueling the insurgency the the oppression of the of the civilian opposition including many members of the muslim brothers and how they get radicalized in prison is another dynamic that is fueling the insurgency and the sense of anger in the country they cannot make conditions and the political stall meet with the muslim brothers is another underlying dynamic that is fueling the insurgency and anger so the egyptian government will have to move and have to address all these different grievances and all these different levels and let's not even forget there's even a social and underlying social dynamic if we include the attacks against the coptic
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christians in the equation so it's a big task facing the egyptian regime and i think if they are not somehow. not judged in a friendly way by their friends from abroad to start tackling very seriously all these conditions all these underlying conditions that are fueling anger in the streets whether this anger is seen in a violent. way or see in the way people talk and communicate they're not actually more generation or third inning now i mean says he clearly sees that there's a problem a growing problem in the country and he's got to do something about it what do you think he is capable of doing what you think he's allowed to do. well i agree with that and i think that the issue here is that counterterrorism is something that governments do and faced with security problems but in egypt it's clearly not
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enough. whether sisi knows that i'm not quite sure i think that governments which britain the united states which i can only use the need to fight terrorism should be far clearer in the need to address the underlying causes and now you can have a very long discussion about the relationship between underlying causes and actions but there is no doubt going back to the events of four years ago the summer of twenty thirteen whether you support the muslim brotherhood or not the the action that took place then with you call it a coup or a counter revolution doesn't really matter clearly created conditions for radicalization of people whose results were seen no so counterterrorism strategy is one thing but it's not enough and you know friends of egypt need to be i think more vocal in their insistence on that point and do what they can to persuade. sisi to
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see the broader picture not to show it to leave it they have to go and they run out of time and i like terrorism thank you for those last words thanks as well to timothy called us and made a dowie and thank you too for watching you can see inside story again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for the discussion you can go to our facebook page at facebook dot com for slash a.j. and side story can also join the conversation on twitter handle is at a.j. incised joy mine is at jane i mean the rest of the team thanks george.
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