The ongoing Islamist insurgency that has taken root in the Sinai since the January 25 revolution has gone from bad to worse. Deteriorating following the Muslim Brotherhood’s ouster, the conflict is extraordinarily complex as it conflates the continued political turmoil in Egypt, the longstanding marginalization of Sinai Bedouins, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Libya’s lawlessness, internal friction in Gaza, transnational criminal networks, and the growing presence of global jihad-inspired fighters.
Due to the security vacuum, Sinai has quickly become yet another fertile breeding ground for militant Islamists, and moreover, a base from which they can target both Israel and Egypt rather unchallenged. Through the lens of the concept of terrorist organizations’ ‘‘glocalization,’’ this paper seeks to analyze this relationship by examining the various interwoven local, regional and global features facilitating Gazan actors’ incentives to export subversion and terrorism to Sinai, the extent to which these networks have shaped the insurgency, and the security challenges they pose.
It concludes that, even though some other non-local battle-hardened jihadists have likely influenced the rise of (sophisticated) attacks too, Gazan Salafi-jihadists have played a major role in the terrorist activity across the Philadelphi Corridor by means of exploitation of Sinai’s breakdown of security.