Sinai: Egypt's Linchpin, Gaza's Lifeline, Israel's Nightmare (Anglais) Relié – 30 novembre 2015
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Mohannad knows the Sinai Peninsula intimately, an area of contention between Israel and Egypt which many Americans only know from its role in the peace agreement between those two nations. Decades on, the Sinai continues to play a strategic role in the region, site of an insurgent movement that Cairo seems to have little ability to control. A post-revolution Egypt also has to contend with defending the area, where it connects not only with Israel, but also the Gaza Strip and Jordan and Saudi Arabia through a narrow water border. Sabry has lived in and out of the area – and with his gift of languages, is able to speak in local dialects and gain the trust of those he interviews, providing a perspective few other journalists are able to.
Chapters give important background to headline making news – from the massacre at Rafah, the important border crossing between the isolated Gaza Strip and Egypt, a lifeline for those under the Israeli blockade, which was closed and reopened continuously during the Arab Spring, to a look at Sharia law and the tribal courts which rule in the area, to the attacks on the gas pipelines running through Egyptian soil which supply Israel with important energy. Importantly, Sabry also speaks with numerous members of Bedouin tribes, an important part of the culture of the Sinai and other areas of the region, often looked at as mere backdrops to the ongoing politics in the Peninsula – but their important role, and relationship to Cairo is discussed in a detail unmatched anywhere.
My only complaint about the book is that for such an important geopolitical area, there are no maps or other illustrations. This book sold out its first run, as I understand it and I am sure will continue to do so. Subsequent editions should add at least one map and maybe more so that in addition to Mohannad’s brilliant analysis and detailed groundwork and vivid, electrifying writing, we can have an overview of the geography of this pivotal region, fought over long before the pyramids were built and Moses wandered. But this is a small concern, when considering the incredible work on this book and how it brings the region and those who fight in and over it, to life.
I will also add I know Sabry personally, having met him in Cairo through covering Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Revolution - Sabry was also extremely helpful with connecting me to useful contacts for my own work - he definitely knows his stuff and it's why I knew this would be a great book.
Anyone concerned about learning more of Middle East politics, and the delicate balance that the Sinai holds among Egypt, Israel, Gaza and even Jordan and Saudi Arabia, needs to get this book.
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