It has been occupied and fought over, fuelled accusations of lawlessness and neglect, and seen promises made and broken to its people.
But ongoing concerns about security in Egypt’s troubled Sinai Peninsula have been answered with successive military responses.
And the threat now posed by an armed group linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has drawn Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi further into the latest offensive in the region.
Attacks have increased since the former army general deposed his predecessor, President Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.
The latest killed at least 14 people in northern Sinai, targeting police and army officers.
A suspected car bomber detonated his explosives outside a police station in el-Arish, and an army vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb, south of the city.
Both were claimed by a group formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, now calling itself Sinai Province, since pledging allegiance to ISIL.
Are armed groups complicating a region dogged by accusations of marginalisation and mistreatment?
And does a military solution risk further division and alienation in Sinai?
Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault
Muhamed Sabry – a photojournalist and Egyptian activist living in Sinai
Omar Ashour – senior lecturer on Middle East politics at the University of Exeter, and a security specialist
Aymenn Al-Tamimi – fellow at the Middle East Forum and a specialist on armed groups
Ramzy Baroud – managing editor of Middle East Eye