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Fault Lines - The battle for the Sinai

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Published on Dec 18, 2012

Fault Lines examines the changing US-Egyptian relationship through the lens of the Sinai Peninsula.

Half a million people live in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip. For decades, they have been governed by a strong security paradigm, and the Camp David accords with Israel -- underwritten by billions of dollars in US military aid.

"Only the people of Sinai can defeat terrorism; the central government is not going to defeat terrorism, it's stoking terrorism through its practices."

- Hossam Baghat, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

Now they are back in the international spotlight because of an increase in militant attacks, arms smuggling and human trafficking.

When Egyptians took to the streets against Hosni Mubarak's police state in January 2011, the Sinai was no exception. But the insurgency here continued long after his ouster, causing worry among some of Egypt's powerful backers.

The true test of the evolving Egyptian relationship with the US then may lie in Cairo's ability to control any instability in the peninsula.

Fault Lines explores the roots of Sinai's ongoing uprising and, as Egypt's new leaders vow to crack down on militancy and smuggling, the dangers of following an old script. How did the Sinai Peninsula become a crucible for geopolitical tensions?

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