The Egyptian military should seek help of Russian private military contractors from the so-called ‘Wagner’ group to eliminate ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, an Egyptian officer argued in an interview that was shared by the Vancouver-based Elminbar al-Awsat outlet on January 24.
The officer, whose name was not disclosed due to security concerns, revealed in the interview a number of problems faced by the Egyptian military in Sinai.
Egyptian government forces have been actively battling the insurgence in Sinai since early 2011. In 2014, this was further complicated by the ISIS factor. Despite the immense efforts of Cairo, the terrorist group is still present in the peninsula. Earlier this month, the group released a video documenting dozens of its recent attacks there.
According to the interviewed officer, Egyptian soldiers and warrant officers lack training and are not able to make the most out of advanced weapons bought from the US, France and Russia. Furthermore, the troops in Sinai allegedly operate in a predictable manner.
“The terrorists have studied our tactics well,” the officer said. “Unprotected posts are easily spotted and attacked, then they [the terrorists] simply hide in the desert and avoid direct clashes.”
The officer went on to say that air power is useless against ISIS cells in Sinai. Moreover, Egyptian troops involved in counter-insurgency operations do not benefit from large-scale drills which are focused on traditional tactics.
In the end of the interview the officer concluded that the Egyptian military needs support from organizations with experience in the war on ISIS, like Russia-linked private military contractors.
“Egypt should seek the services of private military companies with extensive experience in fighting ISIS, and I believe that the Russian Wagner is ideal for these tasks,” the officer said. “Moving Wagner units to the Sinai, conducting joint counterterrorism operations, and training our soldiers by specialists from them, will bring us much greater benefit than hundreds of millions of dollars in American aid to buy expensive military equipment, which in turn will remain useless in military bases.”
Thousands of Russia-linked private military contractors saw actions against terrorists in Syria as well as in other parts of the world over the last five years. The decision to seek the help of Russian PMCs to secure Sinai is not an easy one for the government in Cairo as it will reveal the complicated situation in Sinai. Nonetheless, the experience of Russian military specialists could help to improve the situation in the region.
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