Threat of Kidnap in Libya and Sinai dramatically increases
The latest Islamic State (IS)’s English language magazine “Dabiq” was published on February 12. An article containing a picture of a group of men, paraded along the shore while dressed in orange jumpsuits and led by IS militants.
Late last year the IS announced the founding of two new provinces, one in Libya (called Barqa Province) and one in Egypt (called Sinai Province). The abduction of the 21 Egyptian expats in Libya and the recent execution of 14 Egyptian in Sinai over the past week brings into sharp focus the ever increasing presence of the group in both countries.
When the IS first announced the founding of the two new theaters of operations (ie the Sinai and Libya) it was met with skepticism by western analysts and labeled as propaganda to distract IS supporters from the group’s poor military conduct in Kobane and to try to showcase continued expansion.
However, less than three months after the announcement the situation on the ground in both countries points to steady and sustained inroads by the IS. The attacks earlier this month against the Egyptian army in the Sinai, which resulted in at least 55 fatalities, and the IS’s subsequent media campaign clearly show their commitment to focus resources in order to cultivate and build increasing support in both countries.
Many Islamic militants in Libya and Egypt are unwilling to leave their countries and the local causes for which they fight, yet they harbor deep sympathies for the IS and its ideology. The IS is therefore seeking to capitalize on those sympathies to establish credible footholds in both locations and it appears as though the IS leadership treat this as a significant and long-term project.
The IS media wing’s video releases as well as credible reports on the ground in both the Sinai and Libya indicate that the IS banner is attracting new recruits at an alarming pace.
Despite the setback in Kobane, the IS’s reputation has not suffered in either location. It is the analysis of a former AQ Jihadist, and British Intelligence spy provided by 5 Dimension consultants that the IS militants in Libya and the Sinai will expand their modus operandi to include kidnapping western expats and tourists.
He believes IS will do this to enhance their presence and to increase their momentum further in order to attract greater numbers of recruits from within both countries, in addition to generating income from ransoms to create self sustaining/self financing entities.
Attacks against high visibility/value targets such as ministries, government headquarters, airports and the Suez Canal Zone are likely within the next three-six months. Such attacks might encompass similar characteristics to the attack late last month against the Corinthia Hotel in Libya’s capital Tripoli, which was carried by Islamic Militants loyal to the IS.
Further analysis by GlobalRiskAwareness sees IS expanding their global reach as their brand of Jihadism becomes more appealing to historical AQ affiliated groups even though their doctrine remains at odds.
Analysis of their activities in Syria and Iraq indicates they may have stretched themselves tactically an have lost key ground such as Kobane. It is increasingly likely that their twin track approach of fighting in Syria and Iraq will increasingly be supplemented by attacks in other countries from IS affiliated groups, giving an increased perception of a global growth. This will play to their misguided support and recruiting base.
Report in conjunction with 5 Dimension Consultants and Global Risk Awareness