The kidnapping of seven Egyptian security forces (one from the Army, four from State Security and two from Port Security Forces) in the largely lawless Sinai last Thursday has created a quandary for President Morsi: it underscores the weakness of the central government and its apparent inability to control its national territory, while also embarrassing the Army, which has lately been issuing reminders of its role as a supporter of legitimacy and a guarantor of stability. While Hamas in Gaza, allies of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, has reportedly stepped up border security, it's the Wild West lawlessness of northern Sinai that really is the issue.
But there is also the deeper issue of security nationwide, which has been severely degraded since the revolution. Growing incidents of mob violence, locals taking justice into their own hands, and lynchings have occurred in many rural areas of the Delta and Upper Egypt. The growing insecurity adds to the overall impression that the Muslim Brotherhood government is adrift and bereft of ideas.