October 9, 2004


Bombing Attacks Represent a Turning Point for Egypt (Megan K. Stack, October 9, 2004, LA Times)

The string of late-night explosions in the desert resorts of the Sinai Peninsula was just as much a direct, devastating blow to Egypt as it was a deadly swipe at Israeli civilians.

The unidentified bombers, who killed at least three dozen mostly Israeli tourists Thursday night, managed to hit the key U.S. ally in two of its most vulnerable spots: its uncomfortable alliance with Israel and the tourist industry central to Egypt's sagging economy.

The attacks, believed to be the work of Islamic militants, also raised unwelcome echoes of the epic and historically violent struggle between the secular state and its popular Islamist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood.

The bombings instantly propelled Egypt, which had managed to avoid the recent upheavals of its neighbors, into a post-Sept. 11 reality of spiraling regional bloodshed and instability. The attacks, analysts say, are likely to be remembered as a turning point in the emerging struggle between U.S. allies such as Egypt and a new generation of armed insurgents.

"This is the most important attack we've seen — not only for Egypt but for the whole region — from the point of view of the war on terror and the stability of the region," said Diaa Rashwan, an expert on militant Islam at Egypt's Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "Egypt is now damaged on many levels. The message to the Egyptian government is, 'You spoke all the time about security, but you are not secure and you cannot speak about your stability.' "

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Morocco all have suffered recent devastating strikes by Islamic militants, direct challenges to governments that have forged ties with the United States. The attacks in Egypt, the most populous Arab country, cut even deeper, wounding the psychological epicenter of the Arab world.

In every Muslim country where bombings have occurred since 9-11 it has benefited reformers and Westernizers. If it does the same in an Egypt that was already taking the first tentative steps then much good will have come of this tragedy. Looking back we will be bewildered that al Qaeda bombed the Middle Easty into modernity.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 9, 2004 8:31 AM

There was talk at the beginning of the Iraq war that Mubarak had cut a deal with Al Qaeda that Egypt was off-limits to attacks, and would stay on the sidelines in the war. Something's changed, and it may be desperation (per your post of a week or so ago.)

Posted by: Dave Sheridan at October 9, 2004 8:59 AM


His selling out Hamas would obviously upset poeople, but this attack seems not to have been put together quickly.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2004 11:08 AM

We need to cut our aid to Egypt down to zero immediately. Ship their Muslim green card holders back there immediately. Offer the Christian Egyptians asylum here much as we do for Cubans. Ban all travel, air traffic etc with that despicable kleptocracy.

It is the largest Arab country and as such is the primary supply point for the footsoldiers of terror. The judicious introduction of bacteriologicals might not be unwarranted.

Posted by: Bart at October 9, 2004 9:04 PM

The Mubarak pharaocracy is a pale version of the Nasserist model, imposed with the assistance of
those great develepmental experts; Copeland &
Eigelberger; the former a band leader. and the
father of the Police's drummer; and inspiration
for the Equalizer latter a former ad man. imposed a clearly Stalinist political police network; They chose the same model for Iraq, with the Baathist cadres including Saddam. Their 'loyal opposition, the brotherhood with their leaders Hassan al Banna; grandfather to Tariq Ramadan,
system & Mr. Qutb, were the philosophical base
of Al Queda; while SA is the manpower base. Gamaa
Islamiya, Zawahiri's foundation, is intent on reeclaiming their Caliphate South province

Posted by: narciso at October 9, 2004 10:19 PM


That's all silly. They earned the money by cutting a deal with Israel. They're selling terror groups to the Mossad. And they're moving towards reform. Why cut down a tree with ripe fruit?

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2004 11:45 PM


Mubarak has long since welched on any 'deal.' The Egyptian border with Gaza is an open network for terrorists and the Egyptian police insure that the terrorists operate in perfect safety.

The only opposition tolerated by the thuggish Mubarak and his pals is from extremist Muslims. It is hard to keep track there of whether the Coptic Pope is in or out of jail, and Christian evangelism is punishable by the death penalty. That's some reform isn't it?

If the Israel lobby is so in love with the aid to Egypt, then why did Mitch McConnell, arguably Israel's strongest ally in the Senate, propose its elimination?

Posted by: Bart at October 10, 2004 6:48 AM


They recognize Israel and are helping them fight terror.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2004 11:56 AM