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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1889, RISING TENSIONS AMONG SINAI BEDOUIN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1889 2009-10-01 14:02 2011-02-16 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #1889 2741433
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 011433Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3756
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1961
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1213
S E C R E T CAIRO 001889 
 
SIPDIS 
NOFORN 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2019 
TAGS: PGOV EG
SUBJECT: RISING TENSIONS AMONG SINAI BEDOUIN 
 
Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(S/NF) Approximately 200 Sinai Bedouin held an open protest in El Mahdeya village near the Egypt's Rafah border with Gaza on October 1.The Bedouin issued a list of demands, including the release of imprisoned leaders, a halt to the issuance of verdicts in absentia against Bedouin, the ability to construct and operate cement factories, cancellation of farmers' debts, permission for fishing at all sea ports along the north Sinai coast, lifting the commercial "siege" at the Mubarak Peace Bridge, prohibition of arbitrary and mass arrests of Bedouin men, implementation of a comprehensive Sinai development program, and resolution of water problems in the region. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX the Bedouin demands are "reasonable and not anti-government." XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that the Government of Egypt (GoE) needs to compromise with the Bedouin by meeting some of their demands.

2.(S/NF)XXXXXXXXXXXX said Bedouin leaders met throughout the night to find a way to avert today,s protest, but were unsuccessful. He said the situation in Sinai is "critical" and he anticipates that the problems between the GoE and Bedouin will continue to "escalate." XXXXXXXXXXXX also expressed concern about the "escalating" situation in the region. He told us that the Bedouin were intent on embarrassing the GoE to force it to reduce the political and economic marginalization of the Bedouin and halt the "random" arrests. XXXXXXXXXXXX said GoE and North Sinai Governorate efforts to forestall the protest by speaking with Bedouin leaders were likely undone when a "state security officer" on September 29 "randomly" arrested a number of Bedouin "who have nothing to do with the smuggling in central Sinai." This triggered a violent confrontation with the Bedouin who beat the arresting officer, leaving him with multiple facial fractures. Scobey