Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former Egyptian military leader that virtually destroyed the Muslim Brotherhood, has continued his war against terrorism, and is protecting Israel.
Egypt has shut down the weapons and rockets going into Gaza to the point that it may be difficult for Hamas to launch another offensive against Israel, according to a report by the Gatestone Institute. The destruction of over 1700 tunnels from Egypt’s Sinai into Gaza, over 240 destroyed in early 2015 alone, and an enhanced security zone has had great success.
(The Sinai Peninsula was captured by Israel in the 6 Day War of 1967.It was then given back to Egypt in the 1979 Peace Treaty. Since then it has been an area desired by many terrorists organizations, and is part of the “Levant” region that the Islamic State terror group wants to rule.)
The destruction of these tunnels into Gaza has shut down the smuggling of weapons, causing prices to skyrocket. Now a new law passed by the Egyptian President mandates life in prison to anyone caught digging a tunnel to Gaza.
According to the Gatestone Institute article, Abu Mohammed, a Palestinian arms dealer from Gaza “revealed that the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip has virtually stopped since February this year. He complained that it has become impossible to smuggle missiles and rockets into the Gaza Strip.”
There is also an ongoing war against terrorists groups in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt on Israel’s southern border. These terror camps include many affiliated with the Islamic State. Hundreds of Egyptian military and police have been killed in this region bordering Gaza and southern Israel since the Egyptian military ousted Egyptian President Morsi in 2013.
The Egyptian Military had killed and arrested a majority of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt in the ousting of Morsi, and put down an uprising of other radical groups. The terrorist camps in the Sinai were the next target.
In October 2014, 30 Egyptian military trying to keep terrorists at bay on Israel’s border were killed in a terror attack at the border with Gaza. As a result, the area near Rafah City was cleared of citizens and considered a ‘security buffer zone’. Soon afterwards more than 240 tunnels into Gaza were found. One tunnel discovered in late March 2015 was over 2.8km (1.74 miles) passing under 3 homes in Rafah city of Egypt near Gaza.
How did Egypt evolve from a potential terror State run by the Muslim Brotherhood to a President that is a moderate Muslim calling down the extremists, and protecting Israel?
In July 2013 up to 14 million Egyptian citizens filled the streets in protest against then President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood that backed him. Many were killed and protesters were imprisoned and tortured. The Egyptian military, under the leadership of el-Sisi, ousted the President, took down the Muslim Brotherhood and supported the uprising of the citizens against extremists. There was an uninformed panic by much of Congress after the Egyptian Military ousted the Muslim Brotherhood backed President Mohamed Morsi in support of the citizens.
Conservative voices in the US media, and too many of our politicians had it wrong when they demanded aid to Egypt be cut off. The Egyptian Military was on the right side. They have had a tremendous impact in weakening the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence across the globe, and were continuously keeping Israel secure.
The Egyptian legislature and court requested the Military leader al-Sisi to run for President. He won overwhelmingly in 2014 in a democratic election by the people. Did the pressure from the US make the election happen? Maybe.
“They (Muslim Brotherhood) are not as strong or as big as they seem,” said Ashraf Naguib, CEO of Global Trade Matters, a Cairo-based think tank. “How can we ever accept them as a political party, when their own principles are not based on democratic principles?” Mr. Naguib said.
The US should have recognized that the Egyptian military was continuously destroying terrorist groups invading the Sinai to set up terror training camps. They should have also recognized the security being given to Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post, “Sinai-based militants have killed hundreds of security officers since President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power following mass protests against his rule.” In January 2015, 25 people were killed in the Sinai by Islamist groups and the Egyptian Air force responded with massive air strikes.
When asked in an interview by the Washington Post about his relationship with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, el-Sisi said we talk “a lot.”
In February 2015, President Obama decided not to meet with either Prime Minister Netanyahu or President el-Sisi. Instead, behind closed doors, President Obama met with 15 American-Muslim leaders to discuss, in part, requests to “enact a tougher federal policy that would ban racial and religious profiling by law enforcement.”
While Netanyahu and el-Sisi are openly fighting radical Islam, the US President is meeting with Muslim Brotherhood leaders and making sure we don’t “profile” them.
In March 2015 the Egyptian President had to make his case to American media.
The Washington Post in early March did an interview with Egyptian President el-Sisi that gives great insight to his opinion, knowledge of the Muslim Brotherhood, and political Islam in general.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of extreme ideology. They are the godfather of all terrorist organizations. They spread it all over the world.”
“All extremists derive from one pool. This extreme mind-set is nurtured by religious rhetoric that needs to be reformed.”
“They consider that being on top is a means to apply their own mind-set, to establish a greater Islamic state. They think that they have the absolute truth, so everybody must listen and obey. If anybody disagrees, then they should die.”
Most recently, according to liberal human rights activist Joy Brighton in the Daily Caller, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, demonstrated his world leadership, urging the Grand Sheik of Al-Alzar to save Islam and the world from perdition, pleading that:
“We need to revolutionize our religion. Honorable Imam (the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar), you bear responsibility before Allah. The world in its entirety awaits your words, because the Islamic nation is being torn apart, destroyed, and is heading to perdition. We ourselves are bringing it to perdition.”
The Islamic Research Academy at Al-Alzar University, where el-Sisi made this supplication, is often referred to as the Vatican of Islam, and has supported the Sharia law of ISIS in practice and in academia.
“There are reports that President el-Sisi is closing more than 24,000 small mosques to force radicals out of the shadows of these terror incubators and into 400 newly announced official Salafist mosques. This is a bold move, whether el-Sisi obtains the blessing of the Grand Sheik or not.”
“President el-Sisi’s seminal speech and his actions deserve the attention of the world. President el-Sisi is the moderate Muslim voice Americans have been clamoring for.”
On March 9th President el-Sisi sat down for an hour long interview with Brett Bair of Fox News. In that interview it was revealed that
“Egypt has taken on a bigger role in the fight against ISIS after the group’s militants last month beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. El-Sisi’s military has launched strikes against ISIS in Libya, while other Arab nations fight as part of the U.S.-led coalition striking targets in Iraq and Syria.”
President Obama finally changed his mind on giving Egypt military support. On March 31st, 2015, a National Security Council spokesperson said President Obama was releasing the military equipment previously on order from Egypt. He directed the release of 12 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft, 20 Boeing Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits made by General Dynamics, “in the interest of national security.”
Egypt needs the US assistance as they are battling the Islamic State in the Sinai and Libya. They have an insecure border with Libya, which has become an extremist hub and source of weapons transfer. They are leading the way for the fight against ISIS where the US is currently not willing to go. The US military aid and equipment is essential as Egypt takes a leadership role in the Middle East, fighting extremist groups, and is critical for the safety of Israel.
The keeping of the 1979 peace treaty with Israel has remained a priority for President el-Sisi.
When asked by the Washington Post about Israel, President el-Sisi stated that he talks to Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu “a lot.”
“We have been honoring the peace treaty with Israel since the day it was signed”
“One example that reflects the magnitude of trust and confidence between the two parties is that the [treaty] does not allow Egyptian troops in the middle and eastern sections of the Sinai — the area that overlooks the joint border. But the Israelis said it was fine to have Egyptian troops in those areas. This means the hostile mood and skepticism have diminished with peace with Israel.”
As the news media reports on the release of American military aid to Egypt, we can only hope that they report with some wisdom to the true nature and intentions of the new leadership of Egypt. President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi may soon prove to be our strongest ally in the fight against terrorism.
It helps to understand the Egyptian President’s point of view. When asked by the Washington Post, “Why did Morsi make you the Minister of Defense?” Sisi’s response was:
“He knew that I am a devout Muslim, so he thought I would be of the same mind-set. But I’m trying to be a real Muslim, who respects others and respects the freedom of the people to choose their own religious denominations or even to not believe in God in the first place.”
It helps to have an ally in the Middle East who is not only considered a leader of Arab nations, but who also recognizes the enemy for who and what it truly is.
Robin Rowan 4/14/15