On Feb. 17, one day after the attack on a bus of tourists from South Korea, just across from the Hilton Taba Resort in Sinai, the terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for the attack — Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis — issued a statement calling on all foreign tourists in the Sinai Peninsula to leave within four days. Those who did not, the statement read, might get hurt. Founded in 2011, this organization pledges allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of al-Qaeda who succeeded Osama bin Laden.
A war is going on in Sinai. It won’t be decided in a day, or in a matter of weeks or months. It will be decided only when Egypt makes up its mind and shows resolve by allocating the necessary resources and manpower needed to accomplish this objective. Presently, Egypt has more pressing issues to attend to than Sinai. Having tendered his resignation from the Egyptian army, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to announce shortly that he is vying for the presidency. Barring a dramatic change (caveat: the Middle East is the bedrock of dramatic and unpredictable changes), Sisi will become Egypt’s next president. Seeing himself neither as the successor of ousted President Mohammad Morsi nor, certainly, as the successor of President Hosni Mubarak, Sisi will try to be the new Gamal Abdel Nasser — namely the father of proud Egyptian nationalism, which has its eyes fixed on pan-Arabism and which seeks to reinstate Egypt to its "natural standing" as the leader of the Arab world and a stable regional power.