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Impact of Terrorism on Egypt and Cameroon

Terrorism is the unlawful use of force as a means of intimidating people or governments for political or ideological reasons. Egypt is located in North Africa and is known for its rich history. However, now Egypt is becoming known as the frontline against terrorist groups, including ISIS and other cells. Iraq and Syria used to rule the Islamic State, but they were defeated and the Sinai Peninsula that connects Asia and Africa, which includes Egypt, is now becoming the new caliphate or political and religious leader of Islam. The terrorist groups that started in Egypt are Harakat Sawa’d Misr (HASM), Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), and Liwa al-Thawra. Their goal is to take over the Egyptian government. There are also terrorist groups from foreign countries present in Egypt. They are al-Qa’ida (AQ) and the Armu of Islam (AOI). Both of these groups want to over throw the Egyptian government, but al-Qa’ida wants to start a pan-Islamic caliphate that maintains a strict Salafi Muslim version of sharia law (World Factbook, 2018).

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The culture of Egyptians has been affected by terrorism. There have been over 1700 terror attacks since 2013 and ISIS has taken credit for around 800 of the attacks. The attacks have been mostly in the less developed parts of Egypt or hinterland, but the most current attacks have been aimed at civilians close to Cairo (Wright, 2017). On November 24, 2017, the deadliest attack in Egypt occurred at a mosque in Bir al-Abed, about 130 miles Cairo. The attack killed over 235 people and was caused by the Islamic state wanting the town’s people to stop practicing the religion called Sufism, which is a Muslim religion that seeks the truth of divine knowledge and love due to a loving personal relationship with God. Sufism is considered heresy by the Islam terrorists. This attack shocked the citizens of the country because the terrorists usually aim their attacks at Christians and security forces (Nabil, 2017). Never before have Egyptians been attacked in a mosque and they no longer feel safe. Bir al-Abed is considered a pro-military town. After terrorists raided police stations and stole guns, the people of Bir al-Abed found the guns and returned them to the police and a small group of older residents have turned in people suspected of being terrorists or Islamic militants. The terrorists wanted to punish the people of this town and send them a message that cooperating with the military has consequences. (Youssef, 2017). The Egyptian people cannot go about their everyday lives because they are scared of the terrorists and what they will do.

Egypt’s economy and politics have been greatly affected by terrorism. Egypt’s economy consists of manufacturing, hydrocarbons, agriculture, services and tourism. In 2011, the Arab Spring Revolution was started by government protests for democracy after Mohamed Bouazizi sat himself on fire in protest because he had no permit to sell fruit to feed his family. His cart was taken by the police and he was also hit by the police. This revolution caused a huge decline in tourism, but there are still 1.1 million jobs directly associated with tourism and 1.5 million indirectly. Tourism accounts for 4.9% of Egypt’s gross domestic product (Dudley, 2016). In 2015, a Russian plane was bombed after take-off from a resort in the Sinai peninsula, killing 224 people. “Tourist arrivals have collapsed on the back of heightened security concerns following last year’s terrorist attacks on a Russian plane in the Sinai,” (Dudley, 2016). Poor economic conditions and the lack of jobs were the reason for the Arab Spring Revolution that led to Mohamed Hosni Mubarak being removed from power. In 2017, Cairo had over 30% inflation (World Factbook, 2018). Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the president of Egypt, became president because he promised the Egyptian people that if he could have almost total political power, he would protect them from terrorists, give them stability and a good economy. He has had no success on any of his promises. The terrorists have taken advantage of the poor economy as the unemployment rate for Egyptians less than 25 years old is over 30%; they have become the jihadi foot soldiers (Wright, 2017). Also, Sisi’s military style government has banned protests against the government, suppressed free speech, and taken away basic human rights. Egypt has taken the monetary aid from the United States and purchased fighter jets and submarines in an effort to protect themselves from terrorists.

President Sisi and the Egyptian military have brought a lot of suffering to the population in the name of fighting terrorists. The military has stopped the civilian’s from getting to the cities and villages by shutting down the roads, closed the schools, gas stations and restricted movement in the area. The people had no food because supermarkets could not get any food delivered and what food was left became unaffordable due to corruption. Rafah, a border city, and El Arish were destroyed and the citizens displaced with the demolition of buildings and homes since February 2018 (Sabry, 2018). The Egyptian army said they had to demolish the homes because they believed these citizens were terrorists. The North Sinai Agriculture department said that 90% of the farms and the three largest cities in the area were destroyed causing people to be displaced. The agriculture officer, Atef Abeed, said that 80% of the olive crops were destroyed (Sabry, 2018). The destruction of the citizen’s farmland has hurt the population because they have no source of income or food. The people lost their cities, homes, food, and income as a result of terrorism.

Terrorism affects a country’s society, security, and peace. Cameroon is located in the Sub-Saharan African region between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. The terrorist groups that occupy Cameroon are both foreign based. They are Boko Haram, who wants to overthrow the current government for an Islamic caliphate. They are against anything western including wearing western clothes, voting, listening to western music, etc., and the Islamic State of Iraq

and ash-Sham (ISIS), who wants to employ a strict Sharia law and establish an Islamic state instead of the current government (World Factbook, 2018). The United Nations estimates that about 20,000 people have been killed, but feels this number is low.

Cameroon citizens have been affected economically and culturally by terrorism. They have had to run away from their villages and homes when the terrorist moved in and they have had to watch their cattle die because they could not bring the herd to good grazing land on Lake Chad’s islands due to armed terrorists occupying them. The people of Cameroon cannot feed themselves due to Boko Haram not allowing the farmers on their land to plant crops (Kindzeka, 2018). People cannot earn a living as roads are closed and they cannot trade. Fish markets are closed and food prices are so high that people cannot afford to buy anything. Some families were ripped apart when they had to run and are looking for their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles who were abducted during a terrorist attack. Instead of living with their family in their village, now they live in refugee camps set up by the Red Cross for Cameroon civilians. Around 8 million Cameroon people are in grave need of assistance (Maclean and Hilaire, 2018). It is estimated that around 65,000 Cameroonian children are malnourished (Comolli, 2017). As a result of terrorism, entire families in Cameroon have been displaced and citizens are unable to earn a living.

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In addition to their economy and culture being greatly impacted by terrorism, the Cameroonian’s have been affected politically. Paul Biya, who is 85 years old, has been president of Cameroon for 35 years and was just re-elected for another 7 year term. He abolished term limits. In his inauguration speech he said defeating the terrorists is a top priority. Boko Haram was able to get a foot hold into the local community by loaning small businesses money and other financial help. The citizens felt that the government was only helping the privileged and was not letting them participate in the local economy and not letting them have any earning power (Cameroon: Electoral Uncertainty Amid Multiple Security Threats, 2018). The United States Military has hundreds of troops stationed in the country to train, to advise, and to assist local forces in the fight against Boko Haram and ISIS. Cameroon is experiencing civil unrest between the government and the Anglophones, who are a group of citizens that speak English and want to separate from Cameroon and become a separate nation because they feel they are treated unfairly. President Biya is calling the Anglophones terrorists and his military is killing, and burning villages (Browne, 2018). The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of Transition Initiatives is in Cameroon to help the citizens survive terrorist threats. These attacks have been going on for many years and have left the citizens of Cameroon literally in the dark. USAID/OTI in cooperation with the local government mounted solar lighting in Maroua, the capital city of the far North region of Cameroon, to bring a safe environment to the people. With the new lighting, a lively night marketplace has opened and the neighborhood has a more of a sense of normalcy than it has in years (Why USAID/OTI is in Northern Cameroon, 2018). The fight against terrorists has stressed Cameroon’s local villages and caused a horrible humanitarian crisis. The government needs to address the need for long term economic growth.

Works Cited


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