How should Cairo respond to terror?
Egypt's military has responded with airstrikes against locations suspected of harbouring Islamist extremists after a terrorist attack on the Sinai Peninsula in which more than 300 people died. The attackers exploded a bomb in a mosque in the city of Bir al Abed and then shot those trying to flee. Commentators are at odds over whether the Egyptian government's response is appropriate.
Tough action needed
Egypt must take consistent action against the Islamists, Pohjalainen warns:
“The Sinai peninsula located between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea attracts militant Islamists who want to destroy Egypt's stability. They have established themselves there since the revolutionary unrest which began in 2011. ... The IS's goal is to fuel the conflicts in Egypt to create the same kind of chaos there as in Iraq. The organisation wants to set up a caliphate in Sinai. This goal is utopian but terrorists don't make realistic analyses. The Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has promised tough measures and stressed the unity of the deeply divided country. This is vital to keep the Islamic extremists in check.”
Counter-violence is no solution
A purely military reaction by the Egyptian government to the Sinai attack could help the extremists more than it hinders them, the Guardian warns:
“The experience of other countries shows there is rarely an easy explanation for radicalisation. It also highlights the temptation for governments to rush to extraordinary measures, from tightened restrictions to the brute use of force, in staving off terror attacks. Such measures not only contradict the values they seek or purport to uphold, but can also prove counter-productive in fuelling grievances and bolstering militant groups.”
Murdered Muslims leave Europe cold
Although there hasn't been such a serious attack for a long time it aroused little interest in Europe, Lidové noviny notes:
“The attack barely got any space on Europe's websites. No more than the story about the London police evacuating a tube station and then ending the action after an hour because they didn't find any suspects. As if 305 victims didn't deserve any special attention. And if you expected the Eiffel Tower to be lit with the colours of the Egyptian flag, think again. ... The dead in Sinai didn't even attract the attention of the Western do-gooders. But that's understandable: an Islamist attack on Muslims can't be used to bewail Islamophobia.”