political security management

an introduction

  • First: The tasks of the intelligence services (security)
  • Second: Elements of the political environment (…)
  • Third: Restructuring proposals (…)

Perhaps among the important achievements that resulted from the January 25, 2011 revolution was the dropping of many taboos that were difficult to approach before this date. of them, or at least postponing their discussion at the current stage, until the features of the new political system become clear.

The initiative of the “Nile Center for Economic and Strategic Studies” came to open the file of “rebuilding a national security apparatus” within this context shaped by the January revolution, and undoubtedly a commendable step in the framework of rearranging papers for the post-transitional period. The focus is on the police apparatus, and this, of course, results from what was revealed from the practices of the former state security apparatus, which was replaced after the revolution by the national security apparatus. Where the tools and powers under which it works? The most important question from my point of view is whether this step – which means limiting the change within the police institution only – is sufficient to achieve reform, or does it require restructuring the entire security system in the state of institutions that we are waiting for.

Egypt has gone through many experiences in building its security system, where each stage witnessed a unique rise of one of the agencies within the security system and turned into a center of power within the system by virtue of the direct services it provides to the political leadership, forcing the latter to provide it with all human and material capabilities and advantages that exceed its actual needs to fulfill the mission For which it was established in the first place, and clear examples of this are the Iron Guard under the monarchy, which targeted the king’s opponents in the first place, and the Military Criminal Investigation Service in the sixties, which worked in parallel with both the General Intelligence and the General Investigations, but its powers In the Egyptian street, its illegal practices far exceeded the authority of these two bodies, and it formed in one way or another one of the tools of the conflict between politicians and the military within the regime. Then came the State Security Investigations, which replaced the General Investigations, and the January revolution revealed many of its practices and transgressions.

This exclusivity and transgression in the exercise of power for a single apparatus can be attributed to two main factors: The first is the tyranny of interest in political security, specifically the security of the political leadership and its demands to retain power to the maximum extent possible, at the expense of citizen security and criminal security in general.

As for the second factor: it is related to the absence of a state of institutions and the necessarily consequent absence of a system of control and accountability for the components of this system within the framework of the constitutional powers of each institution on the one hand, and without prejudice to the concept of national security and the reasons for confidentiality necessary for this system in the performance of the tasks entrusted to it.

Today, when we are on the threshold of the Second Republic, we have:

First: To be prepared to pay the price of democratic change in every location, including the security system, and to benefit.

Second: From the experiences of the countries that preceded us in bringing about this change, bearing in mind the fundamental differences in the nature of the threats to which our country is exposed. Then we must.

Third: To adapt to the changes of the times with regard to the technological and knowledge revolution and the achievements it brings and its burdens on the security services in general.

In light of the foregoing, this paper aims to reconsider the entire security apparatus system, whether in terms of the mission and tasks assigned to it or in relation to its organizational structures, and it would not be premature to point out at the outset that the central idea on which the paper is based is summed up in the separation between two main components of the components Security message:

* The first part is criminal security; Which deals with everything related to the security of the citizen or, in a more accurate sense, the security of every person on the land of Egypt; An Egyptian or a foreigner, and confronting everything that threatens his body, honor, housing, money, and way of life, protection of funds and private and public facilities, and the order of a safe life in general. He has a ministry within the ministerial formation, as is the case with us, while others consider him an independent body, and some third submit him to the supervision of the Ministry of Justice..) without extending his responsibilities to the political security sector in any way.

* The political security division, which is related to intelligence tasks at home and abroad, and this paper proposes to separate it completely from police tasks with the restructuring of the intelligence mission in light of local, regional and global developments. And the nature of the threats that Egypt could face in the next stage.
The paper is divided into three main sections:

The first relates to the nature of the tasks required of the security services.
The second: It deals with the political and security environment, and the threats it poses.
The third: deals with the proposals for restructuring the security function in its internal aspect.

 First: The tasks of the intelligence services (Political Security)

The intelligence services in any country provide the largest security shield in the country.. They always work in the shadows and work on developing their tools and methods of penetrating the enemy to obtain vital information that supports countries’ preservation of their presence and secure their national interests abroad. Its work is based on two main axes:

The first is the information axis and includes The following:

* Effective participation in external political decision-making in accordance with the strategic vision that identifies work priorities and main circles of interest, and in a manner that ensures that the intelligence output arrives at the appropriate time and in an appropriate manner to the political leadership, the executive organs, military leaders and the presidency of the legislative authority, according to the type of issue under discussion and the nature of the interests of each party these parties.

* This is done through a series of organized processes that begin with setting priorities, distributing available capabilities, collecting and analyzing information, preparing estimates of strategic positions regarding the higher interests of the state, proposing alternatives and participating in implementation.
As for the second axis, it is represented in security, that is, securing the home front against any attempts to penetrate from the outside, and this includes the following:

* Protecting the state from any terrorist attack that may target a site or people inside or any of its points of presence and national interests in other countries.

* Resisting espionage operations launched by foreign intelligence agencies regardless of the nature of political relations (friendship or Saddam relations) with the country to which these agencies belong, which is known as counter-intelligence.

* Providing the necessary protection against electronic crimes and technological crimes, and all forms of organized crime paid from abroad, such as money laundering, bribery crimes and economic and cultural corruption.

Since the real role of the intelligence services in this axis is to prevent crime from the start or at least limit its effects if it is actually committed, then it is responsible for three tasks whose fulfillment constitutes the criterion of success and failure in its performance, namely:

Providing early warning well before the occurrence of the threat, and the objective of this task is determined to have the ability to avoid the strategic surprise, which usually occurs if the state’s defense system fails to understand the nature of the enemy and the threats it carries. The problem here is not in abstract information, but in cultural formation. And the social person who stands behind this information, and the October war model is an example, the September 11 attack is another example, and the January 25 revolution is a third example. Lack of understanding in ignoring the indications and indications of the intentions of the Egyptians or the intentions of the leaders of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Keeping track of developments in the enemy’s methods and capabilities and working to adapt to them and prepare for them constantly. In many cases, the success of the attack was linked to fixed ideas about the other side or error in analyzing the warnings, and the surprise was the success of the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the offensive launched by Hezbollah against the American forces. the French in Lebanon in 1983 and the attacks launched by al-Qaeda on targets in London and Madrid; Expressive models in this field, but the most important thing is the speed of the opponents in switching their tools and the failure of the devices to pursue or monitor this development.

The offensive move to modify the elements of the strategic and security environment in the positions of the opponents, which takes place primarily through psychological warfare methods and operations to influence the cultural reference of political decision and thinking patterns. in a particular community and at a specific time period

 Second: The elements of the political and security environment and the threats they pose

(1) The Global Environment
Since the beginning of the nineties of the last century, the world has witnessed major transformations, whose effects are still present until the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, and it can be said at the outset that the biggest losers in light of these developments were the majority of the third world countries that could not keep pace with these developments. The developments and employed them to serve their national interests and long-term strategic goals, while other powers that counted themselves on this third world, such as China, India, Malaysia and others, managed to overcome the impasse and embarked on a systematic process of ascent that modified their position on the world map and the balances of international powers.

At the forefront of these transformations comes the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the United States’ unipolar position not only by virtue of being the largest power in the world at the military, political and economic levels, but more importantly as the leader of capitalism that achieved a historic victory over communism and then possessed The strategic initiative in all regions qualifies them to lead the world towards parallel cultural changes without being accused of interfering in the internal affairs of the existing regimes.

However, this situation faced significant shocks in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, when the prestige of the unipolar suffered a violent blow, and the attack revealed unforeseen shortcomings. Ordinary in the performance of the American intelligence services, given their multiplicity, diversity, and the extent of the capabilities available to them both internally and globally, at the same time in which the attack confirmed the inability of a country in the world, no matter how much superiority it has, to possess its national security in isolation from others.

This incident resulted in two major moves on the part of the American administration, the first represented in transforming the battle against terrorism into a global battle in which all countries of the world demanded to participate. American without any reservations.

The second move has been to try to deploy the American model of democracy in the Islamic world in particular as an appropriate tool to dry up the sources of terrorism finds fertile ground in these countries, that the model is this published in the framework of the “Greater Middle East Project” that there must be We decide that with the end of the second term of the Bush administration, the American policy makers reached the opposite conclusion saying that they prefer maintaining the authoritarian regimes existing in the countries of the region as the most successful tool in securing American strategic interests.

Then comes the second of these major transformations, represented by the explosion of the information age and the knowledge revolution that established the third wave in human development, as decided by Alvin and Heidi Toffler in their book entitled: “Towards Building a New Civilization, Third Wave Politics,” meaning the information wave that It comes after the receding of the first wave represented in agriculture, and the second wave represented by industry. This third wave covers all aspects of humanity, and plays a decisive role in shaping the balance of power, whether at the global level or even at the local levels, on the global level: “He who owns the information owns the world.” And at the local levels: whoever owns information has the ability to direct and make decisions, otherwise crises and clashes will explode.

Informatics is the way to confront the global culture that certain countries work to impose. The lack of information creates a suitable environment for computer colonialism without wars.
Neglecting knowledge loses the state’s ability to develop production factors and generate new materials, and neglecting to secure them exposes the state to major economic and political losses and greater security risks.
Finally, having knowledge helps build a democratic approach that is closest to direct democracy, where the burdens of decision are distributed among many experts, rather on the people themselves, and there will be no silent majority but rather a bloc that does not have knowledge.

(2) The Regional Environment The regional environment is a source of various threats to Egyptian national security through three main axes:

(a) The Israeli axis
The Arab Spring revolutions provoked strong reactions among strategic thinkers in Israel, especially those who worked within the security services, stressing that the change that took place In Egypt in particular, it is not in the interest of Israel in the future from the following angles:

The forces of political Islam that are at the forefront of the scene may return the conflict with Israel to the starting point as a conflict of existence, not a conflict of borders, which requires redesigning the security doctrine that was adopted with the previous regime, and it requires the necessity of adapting to the existence of a broad front of resistance whose elements penetrate among the population Civilians, where it is difficult to confront them with regular military force.

Regardless of the assurances that Israel receives directly through the current official institutions, or indirectly through the American dialogue with political Islam currents, especially with regard to commitment to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the Israeli ideas presented for public debate now clearly call for providing the maximum level of security information. necessary for the potential confrontation in all its forms, including:
First: Developing offensive and defensive capabilities within the framework of the world of information and knowledge to support the efforts of the intelligence services to reach places that tanks do not reach, and to obtain them.

Second: I need intelligence information with the aim of deterring potential enemies and thwarting their plans in the bud, and to participate.
Third: In an organized and extensive process of conducting psychological warfare, with the aim of confusing the political decision of the new regime and raising more tensions and divisions on the home front.
It is worth mentioning here the great support that the Israeli intelligence services receive from their American counterparts in particular and the West in general, which encourages them without any deterrent to bypass official relations with the agencies or even at the state level, whether in practicing espionage within these agencies, or using the passports of Western countries to carry out operations The assassination (the assassination of the Palestinian Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel in 2010), and even the cover-up behind some nationalities in the implementation of recruitment operations, as it was recently revealed in the recruitment of members of the so-called “Soldiers of God” Sunni organization opposed to the Iranian regime and their employment in the assassination of some Iranian scientists, and their delusion that The operation is carried out for the benefit of American intelligence.

The current developments in Egypt portend comprehensive changes in the Egyptian national security strategy, and we refer here to one example, which is the revival of development projects in the Sinai, after it was subjected to deliberate disruption for tens of years. And then building a protective human wall that serves the Sinai defense strategy and resists attempts at polarization or penetration by Israel or any other force. Perhaps this trend is the reason behind what is being circulated about Israel’s intention to build imminent settlements adjacent to its borders with Egypt.

(B) The Arab axis.
We must differentiate here between two groups of Arab countries. The first is those that have witnessed or are still the revolutions of the Arab Spring, while the second is the one that intensifies its efforts to avoid exposure to this revolutionary wave.
As for the first group, which is considered to produce security risks and threats to Egypt, it includes Yemen, Syria and Libya, where:

* The separatist tendency among southerners is rising in Yemen and some of their leaders threaten that failure to respond to this tendency and return to the country of the south may push groups of them to join piracy operations in Bab al-Mandab And the eastern Indian Ocean, which in turn threatens to ally with other terrorist forces to provoke more turmoil in this vital region, or they are employed for the benefit of other powers such as Israel and some Western countries.

* The situation in Syria seems more complicated. In the event of the revolution’s victory – and this is more likely – more than one force seeking revenge and revenge will appear on the scene, foremost of which is the Alawite sect and its extensions within the Syrian army to constitute a new source of turmoil and terrorist confrontations, not only in Syria, but against countries and currents that It supported the revolution or contributed to the overthrow of Assad, and may present itself as an Islamic resistance in order to ensure the continuation of support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, and behind it, of course, Iran, and support for Hamas in Palestine, as well as the Islamic forces in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

* As for Libya, the scene of political forces is close to what exists in Egypt in terms of the emergence of Salafi forces that seek to impose their interpretations of religion, and the continuation of the activity of some forces that benefited from the Gaddafi regime, but with a fundamental difference represented in the nature of the role played by the West, especially France, in toppling Gaddafi And his regime and his keenness – that is, the West – to seize the fruits of that in any way, even if necessary to create an enemy among the Islamic forces that he classifies as a terrorist tendency, or to limit the development of relations with Islamic or political forces that have occurred on the political scene inside Egypt.
As for the second group, which includes Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, all it cares about is preventing the Arab Spring revolutions from spreading to their territories by delivering a specific message to their people that this wave has failed to address the crises of their countries, and trying to incite extremist Islamic currents to impede the march of change with justifications. Various religious or non-religious.

(C) The local environment. It
can be said that the most dangerous threat to the internal environment is the weakness of political culture, and the weak awareness of the leaders of the political scene of the changes of the times and the nature of the threats that await Egypt in the next stage, and the impact of all this on the formulation of a common vision for national security that constitutes a fixed reference for all forces and currents. Participation in the political process and the approach to change in general, which may cause more clashes and tensions that disrupt the process of change in the coming period.

 Third: Suggestions for restructuring the security function at home:

As explained at the outset, the central proposal in this paper is the criminal security separation from the political and security so that the full – time police to deal with everything related to the criminal aspects concerned with the security of citizens from all faces, and political security are incorporated into the intelligence system and to include the following:

device An independent foreign intelligence whose role is based on supporting the external political decision and securing Egypt’s national interests in the various circles of the movement, according to what was previously explained in the task section.

Another independent agency is also to take charge of the home front and everything that affects it from the inside or the outside, as it combines the tasks of the internal security sector that is currently affiliated with the intelligence, and the tasks of the National Security Agency of the Ministry of the Interior (formerly State Security).

The Military Intelligence Service of the Ministry of Defense and its current tasks.
In order for this structure to be effective, and able to work in harmony and without duplication or conflict among its components, the following steps are needed:

Establishing the Supreme Council for National Defense in order to include representatives of these agencies in addition to some sovereign and important ministries such as foreign affairs, finance, scientific research, supply and foreign trade. A general secretariat and a full-time general secretary who organizes its meetings periodically, sets its agenda, and sets the necessary mechanisms for disciplined and regular coordination among all members of the Council and to address urgent problems that may hinder the performance of its functions.

Attached to the aforementioned Defense Council is a research group comprising a number of former practitioners, experts and academics from different disciplines. Their main task is to foresee the future, develop studies and research on the future vision of the Egyptian society, potential threats at the regional and international levels, prospects for scientific and technological progress, and how to use them to serve the strategy. Egyptian national security.

The creation of a position of National Security Adviser to be at the head of a National Security Council, whose tasks are summarized in the following:

A- Coordination between security agencies and information institutions at the state level, reducing inconsistencies between them, and reviewing performance rates periodically.

b- Developing strategic estimates with the help of a selected group of experts and discussing them with all concerned institutions (in light of the nature of the issue at hand) before submitting them to the head of state.

C- Heading a crisis management team and dealing with disasters at the national level whenever necessary and working in coordination with all concerned agencies.

d- Communicate with the legislative institution through direct dialogue with the Defense and National Security Committee and provide it with adequate summaries of the political position to build a common information base with legislators.

C- Receiving important delegations traveling abroad on official missions and providing them with a summary of the general political position and an explanation of the dimensions of Egyptian positions towards vital issues.

H- Opening regular channels of communication with the media and civil society organizations to explain the dimensions and justifications of major decisions and to create a basis for common understanding with these parties.

Finally, the new phase requires the development of a legislative mechanism for oversight and accountability for the security system without prejudice to the rules of confidentiality, which are one of the most important requirements of this system, and to ensure on the other hand the prevention of any abuses in its relations with all individuals and other institutions in the state.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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