Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Israel | egypt | isis | israel | barack obama | hamas

Cairo Feeling Pressure From ISIS, Hamas and Washington

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 09:17 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not alone when it comes to struggling to understand President Barack Obama. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi "has also been at a loss in recent weeks amid the administration's almost surreal conduct towards Cairo," The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

Earlier this week, Sisi – who has become perhaps the Arab world's most powerful advocate for Muslim action against radical jihadists – was asked about how he and other Arab allies regarded U.S. leadership in the region, National Review reports.

That was a "difficult question," the Egyptian leader said after some moments of uncomfortable silence "while his body language expressed contempt and disgust," the Israeli paper reported.

Sisi said that the suspension of U.S. equipment and arms was an indicator for the public "that the United States is not standing by the Egyptians."

Although the Obama administration recently promised to furnish Apache attack helicopters, it has been placing roadblocks in the way of Egypt's efforts to make additional military purchases. For example, Washington "is delaying the shipment of tanks, spare parts and other weapons that the army desperately needs in its war" against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Cairo is currently waging a two-front war against ISIS. In the Sinai Peninsula it is fighting the jihadist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has sworn allegiance to ISIS, and it is also involved in Libya, where radicals sworn to support ISIS have established military bases and seized large swathes of territory while dispatching terrorists into Egypt.

The mass murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians seeking employment in Libya last month triggered Sisi's decision to authorize airstrikes against ISIS targets there.

Yet it is exactly during this difficult time for Egypt that the administration "is delaying military assistance deliveries to Cairo, even as the White House and State Department preach in praise of the war against the Islamic State group, and go so far as to hint at plans to cooperate with Iran against the organization," The Times of Israel said.

An Egyptian official said the formal explanation from Washington is that Cairo does not respect human rights.

While Cairo's record in this regard is far from perfect, "Egyptians cannot figure out how the Americans are prioritizing: Was the Muslim Brotherhood more respectful of human rights? Or the Iranian regime? Or the Islamic State and its friends?" the Israeli paper asks.

U.S. allies in the region are asking why Egypt – itself a critical American friend in the fight against Islamist radicalism – is being treated so shabbily by Washington.

Egypt's problems with the United States occur during a period of growing turmoil in the Sinai. On Tuesday, two Egyptian soldiers were killed in a suicide attack in El-Arish, and on Wednesday, an Egyptian officer was killed in Rafah, a town on the border with Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The fact that so many of the Sinai attacks on Egyptian security forces are occurring near Gaza is no coincidence to the Egyptians, who see it as evidence that Hamas is helping ISIS forces in Sinai.

Egypt continues working to destroy terrorist tunnels linking the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, and it says that Hamas fighters "are overseeing efforts to rebuild the tunnels. The Islamists even use partially destroyed tunnels in order to dig out new ones," The Times reported.

Egyptian officials – who think the Netanyahu Government is too soft in dealing with Hamas – have presented the terrorist group with three demands for improved relations:
  • Extradition to Egypt of Sinai terror suspects currently in Gaza.
  • The closure of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.
  • Termination of arming and training terrorists.
Thus far, Hamas has met any of these conditions.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not alone when it comes to struggling to understand President Barack Obama. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi "has also been at a loss in recent weeks amid the administration's almost surreal conduct towards Cairo," The Times...
egypt, isis, israel, barack obama, hamas
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2015-17-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 09:17 PM
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