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Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula
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The Sinai Peninsula, long plagued by illicit trade, conflict and political alienation, harbors a growing insurgency. Recent events including the removal of Mohammed Morsi from power and the broader crackdown on the Islamist movement have turned Sinai-based militants further toward the Egyptian state. Since then, groups such as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis have staged increasingly sophisticated attacks within Egypt, including an assassination attempt on interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim, car bombings in Cairo and the successful employment of a MANPAD (man-portable air-defense system) against a helicopter. As the Egyptian military combats the insurgent threat in the Sinai, critics point to the potential for further radicalization of the area due to the alleged use of heavy-handed tactics. The return of battle-hardened Egyptian jihadists from the Levant along with statements of support from Ayman al-Zawahiri and several al-Qaeda linked organizations increases the risk of further escalation as the presidential election approaches in the spring.
Please join us for a discussion with Dr. Steven A. Cook on the course of Egypt’s political development, insecurity in the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian military response and the role of American foreign policy in this dynamic region.
Steven A. Cook is Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Dr. Cook is the author of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square (Oxford University Press, Fall 2011), which won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's gold medal in 2012, and Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).
He has published widely in a variety of foreign policy journals, opinion magazines, and newspapers including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Democracy, The Weekly Standard, Slate, The New Republic Online, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, and Survival. Dr. Cook is also a frequent commentator on radio and television. He currently writes the blog, "From the Potomac to the Euphrates."
Prior to joining CFR, Dr. Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution (2001–2002) and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1995–96).
Dr. Cook holds a BA in international studies from Vassar College, an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and both an MA and PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He speaks Arabic and Turkish and reads French.