Writing in the Saudi English-language news site Asharq Alawsat, senior editor Osman Mirghani issued a sharp warning to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Under the headline “Who is trying to set Egypt ablaze?” Mighani wrote:
Egypt has been experiencing a state of complete shock since the attack on its border crossing in northern Sinai during which 16 Egyptian officers and soldiers were killed and many others injured, whilst breaking their Ramadan fast. This treacherous operation, not to mention the fact that it occurred whilst the Egyptian soldiers were breaking their fast, has inflicted a deep wound on all of Egypt, which further intensified the sense that Egypt is now completely exposed, whether to armed militias moving freely across the Sinai Peninsula or external forces seeking to carry out their own plots. This is all happening at a time when Egypt’s political elite are preoccupied with the manoeuvring that has dominated the scene since the eruption of the revolution, the success and joy of which has turned into frustration as a result of the deteriorating living conditions and services in the country. This is not to mention the continuous accusations that the Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to dominate the political scene and implement a secret agenda.
Politically, Egypt seems to be in a state of disorder and instability, with all parties experiencing a tug-of-war over power, not to mention the general concerns regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and the unclear nature of the military’s role in the political sphere. Some people are championing the military as a balancing power that can frustrate the Brotherhood’s hegemony, whilst others are calling for its withdrawal from the political scene. Such political disorder reflects negatively on Egypt and demonstrates that the country is vulnerable to infiltration from all directions.
The Egyptian forces reaction to the killing of the soldiers, attacking the tunnels at the Egyptian-Palestinian border and closing the Rafah Border Crossing, reflects the country’s shock and anger. This also reflects the Egyptian people’s suspicions that Hamas provided the attackers with support; or at the very least turned a blind eye to them and allowed them freedom of movement. However the results and impact of this reaction will remain limited unless Egypt takes serious action to eradicate extremist armed groups that are being allowed to move freely across the Sinai Peninsula, and who are gradually transforming the region into a centre for struggle, outside the control of the central government. This is also conditional upon ending the internal political struggle that is making Egypt vulnerable to infiltration and unrest. Perhaps, the Muslim Brotherhood will also get the message that what Egypt requires today is consensus and stability, rather than attempts to gain political hegemony or talk about moving towards the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate! [emphasis added]