“With the vanguard of the soul”: Why could ISIL not penetrate Upper Egypt?

Translated by Farah El Desouky

In the third episode of MBC Egypt, one of the leaders of the ISIS camp in Syria, in which some of the events take place between Mohammed Hatem, named “Abu Saif al-Masri” and Ahmed Salah al-Saadani, a dangerous member of ISIS, named “Abu Osama” – “We are the soldiers of Abubakar al-Baghdadi. We are black caliphate. With God’s permission, we will enter Egypt as pioneers of the banner of Islam. With God’s permission, we will decapitate anyone who encroaches on the caliphate and make it an example for those who are not considered to be “The non-Egyptian representative in that episode, who is a leading member of ISIS, and gives news of the martyrdom of an ISIS.

Thus, according to the ringleader, they celebrated the bombing of two churches in Egypt and the killing of 150 people during a terrorist act, and seven years after Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a self-identified “Sinai province”, announced its intention and endeavor at the time. (January 2015 – October 2015) To establish a branch in the governorates of Upper Egypt, we ask this question, which the episodes of the series may be trying to get close to answering: Why did the group fail in what the ISIL operative said, echoed by the “actor” in that episode, and he will enter Egypt. We decapitate anyone who encroaches on the caliphate, and therefore the most accurate question is: Why could ISIL not penetrate Upper Egypt? In April 2015, Abu Sufian al-Masri, a member of the Holy House, then known as Sinai Province in Egypt, announced that the organization was approaching the establishment of a new branch in the governorates of Upper Egypt, stating in tweets on this date on Twitter that he was “soon announcing the governorate of Upper Egypt.”

It will be recalled that after the second episode in the ISIS camp in Syria and the reaction of Mina Shalabi after her husband deceives her and lures her from Egypt into an ISIS terrorist den in Syria, she ends up in an ISIS fugitive camp.

Failure bounces:


After ISIS failed to apply its theory of “survival and expansion” to any area of Egyptian territory to reproduce the elements of the purported Sinai State, because he was subjected to severe strikes at the time by the Egyptian army and police forces and its physical and human loss, as well as divisions between its ranks – it was not in front of it but an attempt to mobilize elements contributing to the formation of a so-called ISIS “Islamic State” in southern Egypt, in an attempt to send a message to the world (January 2015, February 2015 and March 2015) that he did not fail in Sinai but rather established a new state in another region of Egypt. The intense strikes by the Egyptian state on ISIS strongholds in Sinai, which diverted its operations from suicide bombers with car bombs and explosive devices, to targeting fixed stacks and conducting criminal operations against civilians, failed the ISIS project in Sinai. This led it to announce in April 2015 that it was moving upwards to relieve the security pressure on its elements in its ancient areas in Sinai.


The above indicates that the organization’s confusion in Sinai during that time period (2015 and 2016) reversed his estimates of the environment of the governorates of Upper Egypt, which he considered suitable to embrace it, and its conditions are ripe for its extremist elements to turn to it. This, in addition to other factors, has led to the failure of his transition and the concealment of his elements among the inhabitants of the governorates of Al-Sayyadh. So much so that he did not succeed or perpetuate the repeated application of the alternative theory of “hit and run”, which many used in Sinai, limited its operations to targeting Copts or shooting at a military train intended for the transport of soldiers or the failed attempt to set up training camps for elements, all of which coincided, and then stopped quickly.


It should be noted that after the Egyptian state’s control of terrorism in Sinai There were two significant changes in Egypt’s terrorist landscape, at the first time. ISIS’s attempt, represented by supporters of Beit al-Maqdis, who called himself “Sinai Province”, to inform the media of his mandate in Upper Egypt, He noted that his operations will move and be concentrated in Egypt’s higher governorates and, secondly, mutual adoption of certain operations at the level between the armed arms of the terrorist brotherhood and ISIS, which was based on the announcement of a full version of Sinai province in Upper Egypt. but which has begun to be clear for specialists and other follow-up of the level operations.

Unsuccessful attempts and a dismissive environment:


ISIS’s first appearance in Upper Egypt began in April 2015, when Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a self-named organization in Sinai State, announced the near establishment of a new branch in Upper Egypt.


This date was followed by several terrorist operations in separate areas of northern and southern Upper Egypt, the most serious of which were in the governorate of Minya, which killed dozens of people. The official announcement of the appearance of ISIS in Upper Egypt was in May 2016, when Egypt’s Attorney General, Nabil Sadik, referred 66 people to the Assize Court, 43 of whom had been detained on charges of forming a terrorist cell and joining it, following ISIS, in the case known as “Al-Saeed”.


Through the organization’s data, the Egyptian police operations against its elements during 2016 and 2017, and the investigations into case No. 823 of 2016, it can be said that the features of the map that ISIL sought to draw and failed to achieve in that time period included 4 Saidiya governorates, as well as the new governorates of Fayoum and Wadi, are: Assiut, considering that its Saharawi dahir was according to the organization’s perceptions a downstream point for terrorist elements coming from Libya. During the same period of time, the police forces were able to liquidate seven elements in this province, who were affiliated with ISIL and espousing its ideas. The governorate of Minya, which, according to the organization’s plans for that period, is an easy place to destabilize by igniting sectarian strife, as this governorate represents the largest in the number of Copts. In that province, the group attacked a bus carrying captains, and the confessions of one of the defendants in the case 823 “ISIS Al-Hayad State” confirmed that it had sought with some ISIS elements to set up a camp in the former Saidiya governorate’s Mutai center. The organization’s elements attempted to be in the governorates of Fayoum and Beni Suef and were briefly militarized in the Abouchet Mountains, north of Qena governorate, in southern Egypt.

Internal immunizers:


However, despite the organization’s attempts at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 to be present in the governorates of Upper Egypt confirmed by the map of his attempts to carry out terrorist operations during that period, The prosecution’s investigations into some of the arrested elements that espoused the ideas of organizing and the statements of the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior that confirmed at that time the liquidation of the police service of a number of elements of the terrorist organization – it failed in this terribly, For several reasons, linked to a number of local immunities, in that geographical area of Egypt’s land, are:


(*) Geographical and social environment of the governorates of Upper Egypt, particularly: Where the environmental development, both geographical, of the expansion of the area of urbanization, has remained, The Saharawi Dahir approached agricultural areas in several governorates or social areas of those governorates The rapprochement of large and politically marginalized families, coupled with their rapid disposal of the Brethren Group’s hacks, poses a major challenge to the attempts of ISIL and also the armed arms of the Brotherhood collaborating with ISIL. for the stability and fortitude of terrorist operations in this geographical area during that period. For the following reasons:


Attempts to form social incubators failed: during that period, the organization could not hide and subordinate its elements among the inhabitants of the governorates of Upper Egypt, especially the areas along the Nile River, limited to attempts to enter through the Saharawi Dahr in some governorates. The organization’s failure is due to the rejection and resistance of families in Upper Egypt to all groups that espouse violence, including the remains of the Brotherhood. The most important factor helping to achieve this may be the live transmission of the operations in Sinai, namely the confrontations between the supporters of the Beit al-Maqdis organization “Sinai State” and the army and police forces. This has led to the warning of the residents of Al-Sayyadh during that period that these terrorist operations have moved into their territory, which has affected the Sinai people.

ISIS and the armed arms of the Brotherhood have failed to form what is known as domestic terrorism in poor and rural areas of Upper Egypt. In addition to their failure to recruit narrowly geographical elements, with the exception of a single case, the Qena cell (January 2015-October 2015) carried out for several crimes of bombing churches outside the scope of their birthplace.

On March 30, the Criminal Court and State Security Emergency Pecna decided to seize the case of the “ISIS Shashna Cell” accused of 9 defendants, including a fugitive from the leadership of the ISIS terrorist cell, for sentencing for the second day of May this year 2022 while the defendants were kept in custody.


Pre-immunization: Since the effects of ISIS terrorist operations in Sinai on the population of the governorates of Upper Egypt led at that time to what could be described as self-censorship among the community in the governorates of Upper Egypt. The Brotherhood’s penetration of some large families in southern Egypt and their escalation of politically marginalized families after the 25 January Revolution, which caused some of those families to sympathize with the Brotherhood – such as an early warning to large families with a solid social composition of hacks attempted by elements of extremist organizations. Large families played a role in monitoring the entrances to villages and Al-Najda at the time, and during that time they also monitored the remnants of the Brotherhood within the residential range, fearing that they would facilitate the role of ISIL elements or form a social incubator.

The positive impact of the overlap between tribal or family and Sufi composition in the governorates of Upper Egypt: Sufi thought, prevalent among most families and tribes of Upper Egypt, remained a major factor during that period in resisting hard thinking in that geographical area of Egypt’s land. Here it may be noted that the Brotherhood failed (May 2012-May 2013) in its attempts to dislocate the mystical nature of those areas out of its brotherhood.

(*) Solid and close security positions during that period until the present time, which are intertwined with the tribal and family composition in Upper Egypt, where cooperation between the Egyptian Police Service and large families, at that time remained a strong fortification to prevent the penetration of those areas by elements of the organization. In addition, the widening of the phenomenon of popular participation in the face of terrorism from 2012 to 2015, beginning in those regions until the 1990s, has been a threat to the idea of the Organization’s stability in the area away from police posts. The failure of the organization’s presence in the governorates of Upper Egypt can be envisaged, according to this perspective for the following reasons:

1)Police security grip at the level, and full national and tribal cooperation with the security services, which has made it difficult to form stable terrorist groups or create an incubating social environment. This helped the police service to early pre-empt terrorist operations during that period, as happened with the group of Governor of Assiut Mount Abnob in July 2017, the group Mount

2)Abouchet in northern Qena governorate in mid-August 2017, the seizure of the Isna group in Luxor governorate on August 1 of the same year, and the heroes of the attempt to blow up the Karnak Temple in Luxur in June ur in June 2015.

Control of the Department of Arms Trade at that time at the time: The arms dealers are keen on mutual trust between them as a condition for the completion of the sale and purchase process because of the police’s efforts to combat that illicit trade and its penetration of many parties to that trade Abu Sufian al-Masri’s April 2015 statement on the move to Al-Sayyyid, That “the proliferation and diversity of weapons in these places is an important element of jihad” -which the organization did not know about the strategy of selling arms in southern Upper Egypt governorates, they depend on mutual trust between the seller and the buyer in many cases Thus, the circulation movement is between known parties, and it can be said that the perception of organizational leaders during that period that the arms market at the level ensures the ease of arming organizers in those areas s Republic of Korea “, is a misperception that arms are hoarded and used only in tribal and family conflicts and not against the State.

(*) Rapid decline in the level of organizational operations in Sinai, during the period when the organization announced the move to Al-Asayyah (April 2015) There has been a significant decline in the level of organizational operations in Sinai, which has negatively affected his project in Al-Sayyyadh, as well as misperceptions of the organization’s leaders about the social and geographical reality in the governorates of Al-Sayidah, which has caused the rapid roadblock on elements of the organization by the security services. This can be attributed to:

1)It notes that the timing of the organization’s announcement of the establishment of its mandate on Egypt Day was after significant material and human defections and losses by the Egyptian military and police.

2)Misunderstanding of the geographical and societal nature of the governorates of El-Sayyeh: the complex nature, community interconnectedness and geographical extension of the same family across several governorates, as well as the proximity of the Saharawi dahir to reclaimed agricultural places in most governorates, which contributed to securing entrances to populated areas, the rapid seizure of terrorist elements and their difficult presence within urban areas.

In conclusion, it can be argued that the misconception of terrorist organizations that arose after 2014, of Al-Sayyyid society and its geographical environment, failed the organization’s attempts during 2015 and 2016 and after them to settle in Upper Egypt during that period. Perhaps that is what the organization itself realized and openly declared, with Abu Ayad al-Masri, one of the leaders of the organization Supporters of the Holy Beit “Sinai Province” alleged at the time, calling them “lone wolves” – via the website known as the Jihadi Media Platform in November 2015. “The only problem encountered at the level is the familial character, ignorance of unification and the widespread trap in the effectiveness of the level.”

د.أبو الفضل الاسناوي

المدير الأكاديمي -حاصل على دكتوراه في النظم السياسية من جامعة القاهرة في موضوع الأداء البرلماني في دول الشمال الأفريقي. -حاصل على ماجستير في النظم السياسية عن موضوع النظام السياسي والحركات الإسلامية في الجزائر. -مدير تحرير مجلة السياسة الدولية بالأهرام. -كاتب في العديد من المجلات العلمية وخبير مشارك في العديد من مراكز الدرسات.

اترك تعليقاً

لن يتم نشر عنوان بريدك الإلكتروني. الحقول الإلزامية مشار إليها بـ *

زر الذهاب إلى الأعلى