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Tags: Egypt | Egypt Unrest | ISIS | Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Turn to Egypt to Win Battle With ISIS

Tawfik Hamid By Monday, 22 September 2014 10:44 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Despite trillions of dollars spent fighting Islamic Radicals, they continue to exist and spread, threatening our national security and international stability. Recent expansion of the IS — formerly known as ISIS — in Iraq and the collapse of the U.S. trained Iraqi army clearly indicate that the U.S. approach to fighting Radical Islam must be questioned.

The U.S. response to this threat has been one-dimensional — until now — meaning military confrontation of specific terrorist organizations. Significant tactical successes achieved by the U.S. so far, including the elimination of Osama bin Laden, have failed to effectively end — or even curb — the global radical Islamist movement. Indeed, some estimate that al-Qaida now occupies nearly twice as much territory as it did five years ago. It is now more apparent than ever, that a conventional military approach by itself cannot end this problem.

If the U.S. does not change its approach and adopt a better one to fight Islamic terrorism, attacks on major U.S. or foreign cities, or vital U.S. economic interests, could cause devastating losses of life and fortune.

U.S. leaders and decision makers need to listen and learn from those who have a better understanding of the problem. One of the best people the U.S. should listen to, and see his vision, is President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — the democratically elected President of Egypt. He is now in the U.S. to attend the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

Contrary to the attempts, which ignore the role of ideological religious beliefs in causing this problem, President el-Sisi — a pious man with a career in military intelligence — did not shy away from confronting the situation, admitting repeatedly the need for new ways of religious teaching, encouraging tolerance and peaceful coexistence rather than hatred and violence.

"I see that the religious discourse in the entire Islamic world has cost Islam its humanity," el-Sisi said in an interview televised on May 5. Additionally, President el-Sisi has said there is no such thing as a "religious state" — challenging a central Islamist concept.
Such comments, and his past experience, puts el-Sisi in a position to lead the global fight against Islamic Radicals. He simply understands the main cause of the problem — meaning the Ideology — while expressing a real desire to change it.

Furthermore, unlike the traditional U.S. approach of fighting specific radical Islamist groups, President el-Sisi correctly sees radical Islam as one disease manifesting itself in different names. For him — and he is correct on this — you cannot fight al-Qaida and ISIS, while ignoring Boko Haram in Nigeria, the terrorists in Mali, and the jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Recently, el-Sisi vouched, “Egypt will give any support required in the fight against ISIS.” However, it is important to mention that he wants a holistic approach to solving it.

The world needs to hear el-Sisi, as his comprehensive approach mandates global cooperation. Such a strategy is crystalized in his statement, “any strategy to fight terrorism must also deal with the causes of militancy by fighting poverty, improving education and moderating religious discourse. "When all that happens together, it will bring a decisive result," el-Sisi adds.

More than a year ago, el-Sisi warned that the region was heading to great danger from extremist thought. His notice did not receive proper attention until the events in Iraq took place and the Islamic State swept over the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

Clearly, el-Sisi's approach to fighting radical Islam is deeper than traditional western methods. The former — unlike the latter — understands the main cause of the dilemma,  with a holistic vision to its solutions.

The free world needs to listen to his advice on fighting terrorism.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.

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The world needs to listen to el-Sisi as his comprehensive approach mandates global cooperation.
Egypt, Egypt Unrest, ISIS, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Monday, 22 September 2014 10:44 AM
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