ISIL incitement video reveals group's desperation in Egypt

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo


The Egyptian armed forces display weapons and equipment seized from gunmen in Sinai. [Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Armed Forces Facebook page]

A recent "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) video inciting youth to attack Egyptian army and police officers is an explicit call to spread hatred that will not be tolerated by Egyptian society, analysts tell Al-Mashareq.

In mid-June, ISIL's Wilayat al-Raqa media office released a clip titled "Foothold of Conquerors" which has been circulated via extremist social media accounts.

In the clip, which first aired June 17th, two men calling themselves "Abu Humam al-Masri" and "Abu Osama al-Masri" incite Egyptian youth to carry out knife attacks against the Egyptian army and police.

The video also calls on ISIL supporters to follow the path of its Egyptian affiliate, Wilayat Sinai, and to donate money, describing that as a form of jihad. It goes on to label as "takfir" a number of members of political Islamist parties on the grounds that they agreed to participate in Egypt's parliamentary elections.

The video is an explicit call to spread hatred in Egyptian society, analysts said.

It indicates the group is totally bankrupt in terms of both money and fighters, they said, especially in light of its call for "lone wolves" to engage in acts of terrorism and for cash donations to Wilayat Sinai.

'Desperate attempt to recruit new members'

The group's new video is a "desperate attempt to recruit new members to make up for the human losses it suffered in successive campaigns waged against it in Sinai by the Egyptian army", said retired Egyptian army officer Maj. Gen. Yahya Mohammed Ali, who specialises in extremist groups.

ISIL’s call to "lone wolves" stems from its desperation, he told Al-Mashareq, as the army's crackdown on it has made it difficult for ISIL to mobilise en masse.

ISIL is now seeing its worst days in Sinai, Ali said, as evidenced by its repeated and unprecedented calls for cash donations to its elements in Sinai.

This unabashed call for money "shows the success of the stifling blockade imposed on [the group] by the Egyptian army", he added.

The video presents no major cause for concern, however, Ali said.

"The words in the video, which is directed at the Egyptian youth, will not have a real impact, because the truth about the group has been exposed to all," he said.

"Even the takfir issue will have no effect," he added, noting that the Islamist groups and leaders singled out by ISIL are a legitimate part of the political scene and have gained representation in parliament.

All this is "unequivocal proof of the group’s inability to actually penetrate Egyptian society and indicates the influence of religious political parties in persuading the Egyptian youth to stay away from terrorist ideas" such as those propagated by ISIL and al-Qaeda, he said.

'Dissemination of utter hatred'

ISIL's video "contains nothing but the dissemination of utter hatred after the group declared takfir against everyone", said Al-Azhar cleric Sheikh Abdel Moneim Mohammed, imam of al-Nour mosque in al-Maadi.

The video declared Egyptians from all walks of life as "takfir", he told Al-Mashareq, from government officials to police and army personnel.

ISIL seeks to incite Egyptian youth to break away from mainstream society, he said, noting that Egyptian society is well aware of the danger of ISIL’s ideology.

As a result, he added, this will have the opposite effect, and will cause young people to distance themselves further from ISIL and other extremist groups.

ISIL is desperately trying to recruit youth and members of Islamic groups who are not involved in any type of violent activity but are instead engaging in political and advocacy activity, said Sameh Eid , an expert on Islamist groups.

This type of activity "is incompatible with the terrorist and takfiri ideas promoted by ISIL", he told Al-Mashareq.

As the Egyptian army tightens its grip on Sinai and deals ISIL painful blows in the process, ISIL has sought to recruit youth as fighters in order to "relieve the pressure", he added.

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The "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)" started to go bankrupt in Sinai. The reason for its bankruptcy is mainly its defeat in Iraq, then in Syria and Lebanon. The weakness of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt when Egypt’s young people stood up against Mohammed Morsi is what brought them down. At that time, I said God protect Egypt from revenge because the Salafi, Wahabi, sectarian and subversive hatred is in the blood of the Muslim Brotherhood inside their bodies. As long as ISIL and heavy weaponry are in Libya, may God protect Egypt from them! President al-Sisi should have quickly intervened in Libya to put an end to the crisis because saving Libya means saving Egypt from blood. It is the same thing as we in the Lebanese resistance have done with sisterly Syria.