The similarity the Alexandria church operation showed to “Lavon Affair” the Israeli false flag operation in 1954 is not easy to overlook.
[Editors Note: We are rerunning this past attack as background on the long history of intelligence involvement in a large number of such attacks for the destabilizing religious conflicts that they can ignite]
…by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
The deadly bombing of Alexandria church has shed more light on the long congested sectarian strife in Egypt. Nobody can deny that the Egyptian society has been showing symptoms of sectarianism based on religious friction between the two main religious groups in the country.
And as days went by without seriously tackling this hot issue nor resolving the reasons that led to its emergence the problem grew even bigger as the minority sect- 15% of population- of Egypt Christians ( Copts ) began to feel discriminated against by a majority of Muslims.
History of sectarian tension in Egypt
The sectarian tension began at the early 1970s when the late president Anwar El Sadat took office after two decades of socialism Egypt went through under the socialist regime of President Nasser which in fact never witnessed any religious or sectarian tension.
As Sadat was shifting Egypt toward the open market economy and competitive capitalism he found out that the opponents to his new policy were the hardliners of the predecessor regime, namely the Marxists. And since Marxism was recognized or oversimplified amongst the common people as a doctrine that abolished religion and God, Sadat thought of an idea that seemed at the time as a brilliant one.
He believed that to get rid of the atheist Marxists what could be more convenient than to let the Islamists do the dirty job of blocking their activity and growth especially in places of congregations like in schools, colleges and labor unions.
In this way the Islamist groups helped Sadat obliterate a socialist page out of the history of modern Egypt during the global era of the cold war and at the same time prove to the US that he earned to be their new ally in the Middle East.
What Sadat did as practical and pragmatic as it seemed at the time but on the long run proved to be extremely perilous for he simply gave official permission to the Islamists groups –mainly Muslim Brotherhood – to be involved in the Egyptian political scene.
Sadat thought he could control those Islamists but little did he know when he encouraged them to practice politics according to his rules what was in store for him.
The Islamist groups played the game of politics differently and with their own rules and it wasn’t too long before they started to dream of a Muslim rule over the country. A dream that later turned out to be the nightmare of Sadat’s life.
History of attacks on Egyptian Copts
The Muslim tide in Egypt began to grow even bigger as more Egyptians who traveled to the Arabic Gulf area- mainly Saudi Arabia- for work came back with new conservative Muslim ideas and dress code that later allowed Hijab and Niqab to sweep across the Egyptian society.
This Muslim tide undoubtedly contributed to the isolation and marginalization the Copts were beginning to feel and encounter during their daily life. But one thing is worth mentioning, the Copts may have felt segregated and discriminated against but they never felt insecure for two reasons.
First, there was no history of intended violence against them and second, they were quite aware that according to the law of Sharia – which the Islamists abided by- Christians are considered Dhimmis– non-Muslim subjects in a Muslim state- entitled to full protection of their lives and properties but may be excused from certain Muslim duties while enjoying most of the legal and social rights of Muslims.
At this point some people will probably want to interrupt me and bring to my attention some previous incidents of violence and attacks against Copts especially in Upper Egypt- in Nag Hammadi and sohag- during which some Christians were physically hurt or even killed.
But for the sake of sparing time over needless arguments I’d like to clarify something here.
Those unfortunate individual incidents- which all Egyptians denounced- were not preplanned or premeditated and they were mainly motivated either by familial and tribal disputes over land or due to incidents of alleged rape and sometimes due to secret affairs and marriages between Muslims and Copts which actually became very often in the last decade despite the opposition of the Egyptian church.
In other words they should not be regarded or viewed as sectarian violence for they were carried out due to reasons other than religious intolerance like infidelity and tribal prejudice.
According to the Islamist groups – Gamaa Islamyia & Jihad Islami – that were active during the 1980 & 1990s the violence and attempted assassinations they showed was specifically targeted against high officials like ministers of interior or prime ministers whom they viewed as – koffar– ruling not according to God’s law.
They didn’t even hesitate to assassinate the head of the state, President Sadat for the same reasons and for signing a peace treaty with Israel but they never envisioned Christians as targets for their violence, the thing that rules out the possibility of involvement of any devout Islamist groups in the church bombing attack. Killing an innocent soul is regarded as a great sin according to Quran and strongly outlawed by Sharia law.
Remembering the Lavon Affair
If we reviewed the whole of the 20th century history in Egypt for incidents of bombing attacks on Egyptian targets we will have to stop at the famous Israeli false flag operation back in 1954 known as “Lavon Affair” after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon.
The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, in which a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence .
The goal of the Operation was to carry out bombings and other acts of terrorism in Egypt specifically by planting what looked then like homemade bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets.
The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood –MB -and Egyptian local nationalists with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt in an attempt to abort the military ambitions of the rising Nasser nationalism which the Israeli viewed as a threat to their newly formed state.
According to Israeli historian Shabtai Teveth, who wrote one of the most detailed accounts on the Lavon Affair, the assignment was
“To undermine Western confidence in the existing [Egyptian] regime by generating public insecurity and actions to bring about arrests, demonstrations, and acts of revenge, while totally concealing the Israeli factor. The team was accordingly urged to avoid detection, so that suspicion would fall on the Muslim Brotherhood or ‘local nationalists’.”
In a way, that same account still holds as true and explanatory for the latest bombing of Alexandria church as it did for the lavon affair. Almost fifty years after the Lavon Affair and still Israel can’t act differently toward Egypt. The similarity the Alexandria church operation showed to the Israeli false flag operation in 1954 is not easy to overlook.
Egypt church operation has caught everybody by surprise even the so called al Qaeda in Iraq and who didn’t claim responsibility for the Coptic Church attack they had naively threatened to carry out.
In a country like Egypt which had a long military conflict with Israel – Egypt fought four wars against Israel since 1948- and a longer espionage war – Egypt uncovered 15 Israeli spy networks since 1980 till this very day.
With this kind of history of hostility and covert infiltration it’s hard not to consider an Israeli involvement in the last church bombing which in a way reminded us of the Lavon Affair.
The church operation showed the same technique, the same camouflage and almost same goal of 1954 operation.
As in the Lavon Affair, the church bombs were made to look as homemade and the perpetrators were Arab recruits – the initial investigations of the church attack are likely to find clues suggesting that the suspects are related to al Qaeda in Iraq, just like it was planned for the MB to take the blame for the bombings 50 years ago.
And as with the Lavon Affair the aim of the church attack was to create a public feeling of unrest and insecurity but this time to incite sectarian violence that would tear the country apart and all that was done as in 1954 operation while concealing any role of Israel or its Mossad.
In January 2008 Egypt was suddenly disconnected from the international internet network due to a mysterious cut of Egypt’s main internet cable few miles off the Italian shores. The cut seriously affected the Egyptian stock market and caused millions of dollars losses to the tourism sector in the country.
The investigations were not conclusive as to why or who did it, it wasn’t before December 2010 when a captured Israeli spy confessed that it was Israel and the Mossad behind this operation.
Another Israeli Hidden Affair
This internet cable example -amongst many others- would give an idea of how closely and ferociously Israel is targeting Egypt’s stability not only militarily but economically and socially as well.
And this was clearly stated by Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, Israel former Military Intelligence Chief— on the occasion of his official handover to his successor, General Afif Khufifi, in November 2010 — when he said:
“Egypt represents the biggest playing field for Israeli military intelligence activity. This activity has developed according to plan since 1979.”
And According to several Lebanese news websites, Yadlin also said:
“We have penetrated Egypt in many areas, including the political, security, economic, and military spheres. We have succeeded in promoting sectarian and social tension there so as to create a permanent atmosphere of turmoil, in order to deepen the discord between Egyptian society and the government and make it difficult for any regime following that of Hosni Mubarak to alleviate this discord.”
The Lavon affair, after being denied for 51 years, the surviving agents of the 1954 operation were in 2005 officially honored with a certificate of appreciation by the Israeli President Moshe Katzav.
In the coming days the media will be updating us with the results of the investigations of the Alexandria deadly church bombing. Amidst the ruins and the blown up bodies the investigators are likely to stumble upon a carefully left-behind clue that will eventually tell of a relation to al Qaeda – in Iraq or the Arab peninsula, something like the intact Arabic passports found in the debris of the crashed planes of the 9/11 attacks.
Israel has benefited to the maximum from the myth of al Qaeda in America, Europe and Asia. It’s time Mossad started utilizing it with expectations of the same success and benefit in Africa and the Middle East.
I hope the Egyptian authorities could get lucky soon and capture another Israeli spy who would blow the whistle on Israel involvement in Alexandria church bombing, otherwise we will have to wait for another 50 years when another Israeli president will have honored the still–living agents among the crew of the Alexandria church operation …or what is probably code named the “Yadlin Affair”
For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website at: http://ashraf62.wordpress.com/