Sinai is
the home to Millennia old culture, and to a good many Sinaite Bedawi tribes,
who continue to be nomads or wander about. Its geopolitical position is derived
from its position between the Africa, the Arabian peninsula and the Asian
continent, the clash from which the gorgeous Sinai Mountain range, mountain
passes and a few verdant Wadis has evolved. It holds a mild winter climate and
the best coral reefs of the Red Sea and controls the straits of Tiran towards Elat and Aqaba. The peninsula has served as
an area of military mobilisation throughout the ages, yet has long been a
backwater from the perspective of Egypt. At the crossroads of ancient
cultures, the wife of Emperor Constantine founded a monastery here in the
honour of Saint Catherine to ring church bells throughout the valley and
collect manuscripts in defence of the adopted faith of the empress and her

Sinai’s mountain
range holds several high peaks, and is fabled to hold the mountain where Moses instead
of leading his people to Caanan’s land led them through the mountain passes in
order to acknowledge the Hebrew tribes as a dynasty of priests and the Jews as
a holy nation to be governed by the Ten Commandments. As Moses pushed through
monotheism as a mean to unify his nation
in search of universality and discovery of the Eternal in place of the Egyptian
governance system, which tended to subsume man’s soul under the things, and the
Hebrew’s pagan practices of infan-ticide, fertility cult and solar adoration, he
choose Israel as his country through volcanic ashes and fog by way of Midian in
Saudi Arabia. Henceforth, Israel
should incarnate the word of the Lord, a particularism by law , a novel type of
association reminiscent of ritual artifices in Africa.

To be true,
Sinai would have remained an underdeveloped and poor noman’s land had it not
been for the occupation by Israel
of the Sinai peninsula twice during the
1967-73 wars, out of which the first hotel developments took place and Sharm El
Sheikh became known internationally as a tourist destination. When the
peninsula was finally recovered to Egypt
following the Camp
development started in earnest. The Gulfis are important investors and the
place remains popular with for people from all over Egypt to go for work. There is a
presidential palace in Sharm El Sheikh. Sharm has hosted several international
conferences and is considered a prime resort of the Mediterranean,
one of few which combines a dry climate, sea side and +20 degrees Celcius in
shuttle distance during the winter months.

In some
ways, development has been too fast, and the local population has started
feeling margina-lised, as the revenue has not returned into the economy.
Following a recent attack in Taba, the Bedouins started to become marginalised
in the tourist economy. The upheaval created by the Egyptian Revolution has
made Sinai into a refuge for Jihadis, who have been launching an under-ground
war against the reinstated military regime.

To redress
matters in the tourist sector, Sinai might be just a good a place to start
reform than anywhere else in Egypt.
Here are my proposals for your use and consideration:

First, EU
is bound to lead. EU is the world’s biggest air space by volume, and Air
Transport Safety is an exclusive competence of the EU. There are important
numbers of tourists travelling from EU to Egypt,
Egypt is an important member of the
Euro-MED Partnership – Hey Partner!

There are
three models: (1) A Multi-bilateral Euro-MED Air Transport Safety Treaty (2) A
multi-lateral agreement (3) A bilateral Eurocontrol-Egypt Agreement to be
implemented in parallel to the hatching of a Sinai mini-action plan pounding
the consequences for the remainder of the Mediter-ranean.

Eurocontrol could conduct a review of the agreements with all riparian states
of the Mediter-ranean to ensure ICAO standards are respected in all airports,
which European tourists use most frequently. An agreement in this regard has
recently been made between EU and the Gulf Coope-ration Council (GCC), the
Gulf-states have made important investments in coastal development of the Sinai peninsula.

practice, third states can be integrated into the Single European Sky-(SESII)
to various degrees, and the management of airports is an important component to
overall aviation network performan-ce, i.e. SESII is partially a mechanism for
making international obligations more binding based as it is on EU-law.
Passenger also holds rights. Once agreed and codified, the nations
participating in the rescue effort, having citizens killed, should put together
a military team to knock –out ISIL in Sinai for good.

Second, Egypt needs to
improve the infrastructure in Sinai, and has to make more of a habit out of serving
the tourist and the local population, so that the kitschy accents is replaced
with a more con-fident approach. A Performing Arts Hall, Museum and a modern
Library should be added in SSH. The tourist police should be strengthened.
Public transportation streamlined. A single pricing air ticket system could be
introduced. The Bus Station could be modernised, and security increased. Investments
need to be made in the local economy including in Dahab and Sharm townships. Im-portant
invest-ments are needed throughout the most important cities of Sinai,
including El Arish in the name of economic growth and employment creation with
sound returns to the people.

policies needs to be adopted to ensure the loyalty of the Bedouin population,
who is indigenous in many ways to the land. Some of them will prefer to be
nomads and go on with their lives, as long as access to food and water are
ensured, and health and education ser-vices are available. A good many will
seek work in the coastal areas. Others might think, the time is ripe to
organise a more permanent Council of Sinaite tribes as a consultative organ of
the Sinai province to address their grievances and channel this population
segment’s interests in this quasi-autonomous area.

Fourth, an
integrated approach to counter-terrorism and insurgency needs to be adopted, so
as to ensure effective peace-building. This should not pose a problem as Egypt claims to
have achieved 90% of its objectives in its counter-insurgency campaign in the
deserted areas of this otherwise as well forbidding terrain. There is the relationship
with Israel
which may be wondering why it should keep elevating the limits placed on troops
allowed on the peninsula under the peace agreements, in return for an apparent
decrease in security provision. Indeed, a pipe-line is running through Sinai to
Israel and Jordan,
providing amble opportunity for dialogue and exchange. Currently, flights from
Tel Aviv to Elad are diverted from Egyptian air-space and undertaken with
flares only, a contribu-ting factor to the building of a new (cargo) airport. There
is trafficking in human beings, migrants and in drugs, crossing the Sinai Province.
The fence between Egypt and Israel has contributed to a lessening of concerns for spill-over
onto the bilateral relationship, although not eradicated the causes of the
revolt. For this dialogue is necessary. There are links of old between Sinai
and Gaza.

Fifth, the
hoteliers and real estate developers must be convinced to carry their share of
the burden in the remainder of Sinai, so that the benefits of the rent seeking
economy is more equally distributed in full dialogue with the authorities of
the Sinai province. This will have to be supported by the cen-tral government.
Experiments with democratic governance will have to be introduced at a later
stage. The oligarchs of Egypt
are the slaves of no one and should partake in the deliberations on sound and effective
economic management in Egypt
and help Egypt
towards a new concord between state-society. Perhaps, a national wealth fund should
be created in this regard, as the wildcats of Egypt’s energy fields starts to
spin. Next, the civil-military relationship could be taken-up.

Egyptians are a proud people not a nations living of tourists, revisiting past
glories. Masr, however, needs to demonstrate its acumen to govern well in order
to once more claim the mantle of Arab leadership. And so, the Euro-Med
Partnership remains a partnership for modernising elites, who wants a more open
society in political, economic and cultural terms.

Christian ILCUS