Cablegate: Tribal Clashes in North Sinai Lead to Protests
DE RUEHEG #3000 2821449
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091449Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7138
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
UNCLAS CAIRO 003000
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PTER PGOV ASEC EG
SUBJECT: TRIBAL CLASHES IN NORTH SINAI LEAD TO PROTESTS
Sensitive but Unclassified, not for Internet distribution.
1. (SBU) Tensions between the Fawakhreya tribe, which is
based in the city of el-Arish in North Sinai, and the
Tarabeen bedouin tribe intensified on October 6 when a
Tarabeen member opened fire on residents and buildings in the
Fawakhreya neighborhood, according to press accounts and
Embassy contacts. The shooting incited protests by
Fawakhreya tribe members, who vandalized the local National
Democratic Party (NDP) headquarters as well as pictures of
President Mubarak. Members of the Fawakhreya tribe accused
government security forces of failing to maintain security.
(Note: Although the Fawakhreya tribe is the largest tribe in
the region, Embassy contacts say its 35,000 members are less
well armed than members of some bedouin tribes and are more
dependent on government security for their protection. End
2. (SBU) To control the protests, the Minister of Interior
ordered security forces to enforce a curfew on the Fawakhreya
neighborhood of el-Arish on October 6. Several demonstrators
were injured and hospitalized, although none were killed.
According to North Sinai business and security contacts, the
GOE lifted the curfew on October 8 after calm had been
restored. Embassy contacts speculate that North Sinai MPs
and Fawakhreya tribe members will demand to be armed to
counter future attacks.
3. (SBU) Comment: The supposed demand for weapons is based
on the GOE practice in Sinai to acquiesce to a small degree
of judicial autonomy for the bedouin tribes. Although the
GOE will not provide weapons to feuding tribes, the tension
in the area is likely to continue.