Bombs are going off in Western businesses and fast food restaurants all over Egypt. The Financial Times reports:
The recent escalation of incidents may be tied to the high-profile investment conference. Companies from around the world are expected to attend the summit, which is meant to attract investment in Egypt and revitalise its moribund economy.In addition to discouraging the return of business, many worry the cells organising the attacks could eventually merge with more extremist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and its local jihadi affiliates. An earlier national assessment by Verisk Maplecroft, the risk analyst group, warned that the arrest and continued detention of Islamist leaders has paved the way for the rise of a young, hardline cadre of Islamists “who could seek to introduce a more violent campaign against the state authorities”.
Egypt is hoping that it can use the conference to increase trade revenues and help rejuvenate its lackluster economy. Since the upheavals that brought in the current government, the country has been kept afloat by the largesse of nations such as Saudi Arabia and the United States, which have overlapping security concerns with Cairo. Egypt wants to become significantly less reliant on foreign assistance, as would its allies. But these widespread “lone wolf” bombings, which suggest an unstable environment, are threatening its hopes for greater stability.Egypt’s government often cries wolf over terrorism, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any wolves out there—lone or otherwise. It is facing a growing security threat from an increasingly potent Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, while Libya collapses next door (now with the help of an ISIS franchise). Furthermore, the Egyptian government feels the Muslim Brotherhood continues to be a latent threat.In order to achieve long-term stability, the Sisi government has to provide economic stability as well as security—and these bombings threaten both. Will they be enough to deter investors? The conference this weekend should shed some significant light on Egypt’s short-term future.