ESW Week in Brief: November 26 – December 3, 2018

12/03/2018 . By TIMEP

Summary

  • The U.S. Department of State notified Congress that it had approved two arms deals with Egypt, totaling $1.2 billion, with the funds being used from Egypt’s foreign military financing package.
  • Egypt’s first defense exposition, EDEX 2018, is running from December 3–5, marking the first such defense exposition to be held in North Africa. The event brings together 373 major defense companies from 41 countries.
  • Wilayat Sinai claimed eight attacks over the reporting period: three improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, a sniper attack, and the execution of a civilian, whom they accused of spying.

State Department Approves Foreign Military Financing Deals to Egypt

On November 27, 2018, Congress was notified that the State Department had approved two sales totaling $1.2 billion in military equipment to Egypt. The first sale, totaling $1 billion, is for 10 AH-64E Apache helicopters along with related equipment. The second agreement is worth $200 million and would provide Egypt with 60,500 rounds of tank ammunition and related equipment for its M1A1 Abrams tank fleet. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) referenced the conflict in the Sinai Peninsula in the announcement despite no reports of M1A1 Abrams tanks being used in the theater. The equipment was purchased through funds appropriated to Egypt by Congress under the foreign military financing (FMF) program, and the equipment will be purchased and transferred under the guidelines of the foreign military sales (FMS) program executed by the DSCA. Under the guidelines of the foreign military sales (FMS) program, the State Department is required to notify Congress of the sale because it exceeds the mandated monetary threshold of $14 million outlined in the Arms Export Control Act and contains sensitive equipment included in the Apache helicopters. Congress has 30 days to block the sale.

Sisi Opens Egyptian Defense Exposition

President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi opened Egypt’s first defense expo, EDEX 2018. EDEX will host 373 major defense companies, including Boeing, from 41 countries. The Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport will exhibit over 300 pieces of weaponry, including attack helicopters and the S-400 air defense missile system, which the firm recently sold to Turkey. The opening ceremony was attended by the defense ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sudan, France, Greece, Cyprus, South Sudan, Cameroon, South Korea, and Somalia. Florence Parly, French minister of the armed forces,‎ plans to meet with Sisi and Defense Minister Muhammad Ahmed Zaki on the sidelines of the expo to discuss means of boosting cooperation between France and Egypt, especially on the conflicts in Libya. Parly’s accompanying delegation is led by Jean-Jacques Bridey, president of the defense committee of the French National Assembly, who met with Ali Abdel ‘Al, Speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives, on Sunday. A delegation from the United Kingdom, including U.K. Trade Envoy Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Defense Senior Adviser for the Middle East John Lorimer, is also in town to hold parallel talks with Egyptian officials on the sidelines of the expo. Donaldson will meet with Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar to discuss the future of U.K. investment in Egypt and deepening trade ties.

Wilayat Sinai Claims Eight Attacks

On November 26, the Islamic State’s Amaq news agency reported that Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for an IED attack on an armored personnel carrier. The next day, reporting emerged detailing Wilayat Sinai’s execution of Ayad al-Barikat, a civilian whom the terror group accused of spying. Barikat’s execution marked the sixth time Wilayat Sinai executed a civilian suspected of collaborating with Egyptian security forces; in 2017, 20 such executions were carried out in North Sinai. Wilayat Sinai claimed three more attacks on November 29: a dual IED attack targeted a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle (MRAP) and an M60 tank near Arish, an IED targeted a military bulldozer near Sheikh Zuweid, and a Wilayat Sinai sniper killed an Egyptian soldier near Arish. Eighteen attacks had been reported in November in North Sinai out of a total of 194 so far this year. These 18 attacks resulted in three of the 118 reported fatalities so far in 2018.

On December 1, Wilayat Sinai claimed an IED attack targeting a military bulldozer and clashed with the Egyptian military near Rafah. Two separate IED attacks damaged military bulldozers on December 3 in Arish and Rafah.

Wilayat Sinai Eulogizes Saif al-Masri

Saif al-Masri was eulogized in Wilayat Sinai’s “Caravan of the Martyrs” propaganda series. The release did not mention how or when Masri died. Masri’s kunya, or nom de guerre, suggests he originated from the Egyptian mainland. Previously, Wilayat Sinai last released a similar tribute to Abu Hamza al-Maqdisi in October.

Egypt and Sudan Establish Joint Patrols

Sudan agreed to establish joint patrols with the Egyptian Armed Forces. The development aims to curb cross-border smuggling and militant activity by militias operating in Libya. Disputes over the Halayeb Triangle and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have continued to be points of contention between the two countries.