«2016 / Terrorism 2.0: The Rise of the Civilitary Battlefield 199 ARTICLE Terrorism 2.0: The Rise of the Civilitary Battlefield Gil Avriel* * Legal ...»
A third territorial terrorist group classified under Model II is Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. This group, which has allied itself with ISIL,193 has been operating in the Sinai Peninsula but is evolving as fragmentation and political upheaval roil Egypt.194 In particular, the group has exploited two situations to acquire land in northern Sinai: the governmental vacuum created in Egypt in the period between the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and the establishment of the new government of Mohamed Morsi,195 and long-running problems with Egyptian control in Sinai. In the background, a security vacuum196 has developed in that area caused by the complex relationship between the local Bedouin population and the central state.197 The Egyptian government has been accused of promoting discriminatory policies, economic marginalization, and repressive measures toward local residents.198 The territorial dimension of this group forms a triangle that stretches between the cities of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid, and al-Arish. The escape and release of the group’s operatives from prison, where they were serving long terms for past activity, allowed it to fortify its ranks with loyal members who already had operational experience.199 Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis then quickly moved from Model I to II. The theory characterizes this stage as employing terrorism in the territory under the group’s control and throughout nearby states.
See Eran Zohar, The Arming of Non-State Actors in the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula, 69.4 AUST. J. OF INT’L AFF., 439-455 (Feb. 19, 2015), http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/ 10.1080/10357718.2014.988206.
Helena Burgrová, The Security Question in the Post-Mubarak Egypt: The Security Void in Sinai, Obrana a Strategie, 65, 65-76 (Jun. 15, 2014).
Lisa Watanabe, Sinai Peninsula–from Buffer Zone to Battlefield, CENTER FOR SECURITY STUDIES ANALYSES IN SECURITY POLICY, No. 168 (Feb. 2015). See Ruben Tuitel, The Future of the Sinai Peninsula, CONNECTIONS: THE QUARTERLY JOURNAL, 79, 79–91 (Spring 2014).
Giuseppe Dentice, “Sinai-Next Frontier of Jihadism?” New (and Old) Patterns of Jihadism: AlQa‘ida, the Islamic State and Beyond, INST. FOR INT’L POL. STUDIES (2014). See also Nicolas Pelham, Sinai: The Buffer Erodes, CHATHAM HOUSE – THE ROYAL INST. FOR INT’L AFF., 74, 74Sept. 2012), http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/ Middle%20East/pr0912pelham.pdf.
Yoram Schweitzer, Global Jihad: Approaching Israel’s Borders? 15.3 INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT 59-71 (2012).
See Erin Cunningham, Bomb Blast in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula Is Deadliest Attack on Army in Decades, THE WASHINGTON POST (Oct. 24, 2014), https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/bombattack-in-egypts-sinai-peninsula-is-deadliest-attack-on-its-army-in-years/2014/10/24/98d14ad7c0-4acd-835f-e61b8f18a434_story.html.
236 Harvard National Security Journal / Vol. 7 exports gas to Israel and Jordan.201 After President Morsi’s ouster, the situation in the Sinai Peninsula deteriorated202 and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis began to expand its targets, striking locations in Egypt’s mainland.203 Terrorist attacks were planned and executed around the Suez Canal, the Nile Delta region, the Cairo district204 and the Libyan cross-border region, followed by attempts to assassinate Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim.205 On January 29, 2015, a series of deadly attacks involving car bombs, mortar fire, and ambushes targeted several military and police sites in the North Sinai Governorate. At least 44 people, including military and police personnel and civilians, were killed, and 105 others were injured in the attacks.206 In line with Model II, this group also terrorizes civilians in nearby states.
For example, the group claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks on the southern Israeli city of Eilat,207 and also killed one soldier and injured another in a September 2012 attack on an Israeli border patrol.208 With respect to the third criterion of Model II, there is no available information to suggest that members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis facilitate terrorist attacks around the world.
In an effort to crack down on the organization in the face of increasing terrorist attacks, the Egyptian leadership has modified its national security See Egypt Jihadists Claim Attack on Sinai Pipeline to Jordan, YAHOO NEWS, (Jan. 19, 2015), http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-jihadists-claim-attack-sinai-pipeline-jordan-205846613.html.
This deterioration is illustrated by an assault on the Kerem Abu Salem checkpoint, near Rafah, on August 5, 2012, in which 16 soldiers were killed; the bombing of the South Sinai Security Directorate headquarters in at-Tur on October 7, 2014, killing 3 soldiers and injuring 62; the shooting down of an Egyptian army helicopter with MANPADS (man portable air defense systems) on January 25, 2014; and an attack in Taba on an Egyptian tour busload of South Korean tourists on February 4, 2014. Dentice, supra at 198.
Id. See also Aaron Zelin, Jihadists on the Nile: The Return of Old Players, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, POLICY ANALYSIS, POLICY WATCH 2016 (Jan. 17, 2013), http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/jihadists-on-the-nile-the-return-of-oldplayers; Safaa Saleh, Terrorism Expands From Sinai to Cairo, AL MONITOR (Apr. 16, 2014), http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/04/egypt-terrorism-shift-sinai-cairo.html.
Yasmine Saleh, Sinai Islamists Claim Responsibility for Attack on Egypt Minister, REUTERS (Sept. 8, 2013), http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/08/us-egypt-attack-interior-idUSBRE987 0BX20130908.
Shaul Shay, Egypt's Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the Islamic State, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COUNTER-TERRORISM (Feb. 11, 2015), http://www.ict.org.il/Article/1341/Egypts-Ansar-Baytal-Maqdis-and-the-Islamic-State.
Dan Williams, Egyptian Militants Claim Rocket Attack On Israel's Eilat, REUTERS (Jan. 21, 2014), http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/21/us-israel-egypt-rockets-idUSBREA0K0ZX201 40121.
Joel Greenberg, Egypt-based Islamist Militant Group Asserts Responsibility for Israel Border Attack, THE WASHINGTON POST (Sept. 23, 2012), https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/egyptbased-islamist-militant-group-claims-responsibility-for-israel-border-attack/2012/09/23/abc05f24b-11e2-afff-d6c7f20a83bf_story.html. See also Terrorist Designation of Ansar Bayt alMaqdis, DEPT. OF STATE (Apr. 9, 2014), http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/04/224566.htm.
2016 / Terrorism 2.0: The Rise of the Civilitary Battlefield 237 strategy.209 Similar to ISIL, Boko Haram, the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas, members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis also face the threat of airstrikes, undertaken, in this case, by the Egyptian Air Force.210 Because the Sinai Peninsula is demilitarized under the terms of the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, the use of Egyptian military force to confront terrorism in a demilitarized zone had to be addressed properly.211 Attacks by Egyptian planes play an important role in the Egyptian air campaign against terrorism.212 In addition, in August 2013, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis announced that four of its fighters were killed as they were preparing a cross-border rocket strike into Israel in what was claimed by the group to be an Israeli drone strike.213 The military campaign against Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis continues as of this writing. In November 2015, the group claimed credit for a terrorist attack that brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board.214 At this stage, the territorial terrorist group has yet to acquire significant terroballistic capabilities and ascivilate these terrorist capabilities among civilians. It should be noted that the group operates from the desert, which does not have, in general, many densely populated residential cities. On the other hand, Ansar Bayt alMaqdis has already demonstrated its ability to shoot missiles from Sinai into Israel. This development might indicate the possibility that it will shoot more missiles against Israel or against Egypt in future. In the meantime, however, we categorize Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as a Model II organization.
C. Civilitary Model I: The Houthis in Yemen
Finally, we look at the sixth of the territorial terrorist groups explored in this Article, the Houthis in Yemen, which we classify under Civilitary Model I.
The Houthis, a group of Shia rebels from northern Yemen, overran the capital city of Sanaa in September 2014. In January 2015, they further took over key See Zack Gold, Egypt’s War on Terrorism, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE (2014).
See Egyptian Attack Helicopters Kill 15 Jihadists in Sinai, JERUSALEM POST (Mar. 9, 2013), http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Report-Egyptian-attack-helicopters-strike-jihadist-targets-in-SinaiEgyptian Airstrikes kill 25 Daesh-linked Militants in Sinai, ALBAWABA NEWS (Feb. 6, 2015), http://www.albawaba.com/news/egyptian-airstrikes-kill-25-daesh-linked-militants-sinaiEgypt Apache Helicopters Raid Sinai After Deadly Attacks, MIDDLE EAST EYE (Jan. 15, 2015), http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-apache-helicopters-sinai-after-deadly-attackssthash.cSYRdUTC.dpuf.
Dan Williams, Israel Allows Egypt Attack Helicopters in Sinai, REUTERS (Aug. 9, 2012), http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL6E8J9HNJ20120809.
Sinai Terror Group Says It Was Target of Israeli Drone, USA TODAY (Aug. 10, 2013), http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/10/sinai-qaeda-israel-drone/2638365/.
ISIS Claims, supra at 170.
238 Harvard National Security Journal / Vol. 7 governmental buildings, including the presidential palace and the parliament, and put the president under house arrest.215 It may be too soon to assess the long-term implications of this territorial development.Similarly, it may be too early to forecast how this group will behave and whether it will move along the path predicted by Civilitary Theory. The fact that Iran—a state sponsor of terrorism—stands firmly behind the Houthis is indicative of what may lie ahead. Iran views the Shiite Houthis as “a copy to Lebanon’s Hezbollah”216 and sees the recent developments in Yemen in a way that is “moving toward building a great Islamic civilization.”217 Due to uncertainty, at this stage we would like only to allude to some facts and developments in the course of the conflict between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia that, in our view, could be better understood through the lens of Civilitary Theory. First, the Houthis have gained territory and administer the lives of civilians in Yemen, which makes them a territorial terrorist group in line with Model I of the theory. Second, the Houthis have already executed terrorist and military attacks not only locally but also in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have responded by modifying their national security strategy, spearheading a coalition of several Arab states and carrying out airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.
Third, the Houthis responded to Saudi intervention by launching several Scud missiles from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia.218 In response, in late August 2015 Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, a spokesman for the Saudi-led military Shuaib Almosawa and Rod Nordland, U.S. Fears Chaos as Government of Yemen Falls, THE N.Y TIMES (Jan. 22, 2015), http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/23/world/middleeast/yemen-houthicrisis-sana.html. See also Yemen’s Houthis Form Own Government in Sanaa, AL JAZEERA (Feb. 6 2015), http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/02/yemen-houthi-rebels-announcepresi dential-council-150206122736448.html; Laura Smith-Spark, Who’s in Charge in Yemen? CNN (Jan. 23, 2015), http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/23/middleeast/yemen-whos-in-charge/.
Seleh Hamid, Yemen’s Houthis ‘Similar’ to Lebanon’s Hezbollah: Iran Official, AL ARABIYA NEWS (Jan. 26, 2015), http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/01/26/Yemen-sHouthis-similar-to-Lebanon-s-Hezbollah-Iran-official.html.
The Iranian Revolution Inspired Yemen, MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (May 5, 2015), https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18447-the-iranian-revolution-inspiredyemen. See also Oren Dorell, Iranian Support for Yemen’s Houthis Goes Back Years, USA TODAY (Apr. 20, 2015), http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/04/20/iran-support-foryemen-houthis-goes-back-years/26095101/ (according to David Schenker, director of Arab politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Iran has supported the Houthis for years in many different ways, including by sending fighter pilots to Lebanon, where they received Lebanese passports and then traveled to Yemen to join the fighting in advance of the Houthi takeover earlier this year).
Abdullah as-Shihri, Houthi Rebels Fire Scud Missile from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, THE WASHINGTON POST (Jun. 6 2015), https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/houthi-rebels-firescud-missile-from-yemen-into-saudi-arabia/2015/06/06/00e39c44-0c89-11e5-a7adb430fc1d3f5c_story.html.
2016 / Terrorism 2.0: The Rise of the Civilitary Battlefield 239 confirmed that “Saudi forces have taken control of some areas in Yemen’s Saada province to stop mortar shells and Katyusha rocket attacks.”219 These days are a sensitive time for Yemeni and Saudis citizens alike.
Because the situation in Yemen continues to unfold as this article is being written, it may be too early to definitively classify it into a Civilitary model. But, preliminarily, the situation may be classified as Model I—even though some indicators, like the continuation of a relatively effective airstrike campaign against the Houthis and its response by shooting scud missiles towards Saudi Arabia,220 might support categorizing the group in a higher model.