Egyptian Gov’t Says ISIS Came from Muslim Brotherhood

Islamic-State-10-IPEgyptian President El-Sisi is forcefully arguing that the U.S. is erring in focusing only on the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments says that the Islamic State terrorist group (also known as ISIS or ISIL) was birthed from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, according to an October 13 report  in an Egyptian newspaper called the Seventh Day.

Other Egyptian leaders have made the case in recent days that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terrorist groups belong in the same category as the Islamic State. The Egyptian government has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas, as terrorist groups.

According to the report, Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said that the Muslim Brotherhood is the progenitor of the Islamic State and similar terrorist groups. He accused the Brotherhood of disrupting education at Egyptian universities and said the group is harmful to Islam.

The Islamic State used to be Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq. Al-Qaeda’s leaders are known to have been influenced by the Brotherhood, but the two groups sparred over the latter’s relative restraint and involvement in elections.

The Islamic State is publicly hostile to the Brotherhood, though the two have nearly identical goals. In a new Islamic State video, the group pledges to overthrow the Turkish government and derided it as the “Caliph of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

In May, Gomaa told a reporter that Egypt’s Al-Azhar University should promote a “centrist form of Islam” that is different from Political Islam, otherwise known as Islamism.

“Islam should not be part of politics because the role of religion should only be about preaching a moral public life and for the betterment of society,” he was quoted as saying.

Last month, Gomaa warned that released Muslim Brotherhood leaders would instigate violence and instability and collaborate with terrorist groups.

“[Muslim Brotherhood will] incite from Qatar, conspire from Libya, mobilize the international organization in Turkey and ally with the Islamic State,” he said.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Egypt’s President Backs Global Campaign Against Islamic State Extremists

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in New York. Jason Andrew for The Wall Street Journal

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in New York. Jason Andrew for The Wall Street Journal

By GERARD BAKER and JAY SOLOMON:

NEW YORK—Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi pledged his support for the U.S. war against Islamic State militants, but called on President Barack Obama to widen his campaign against extremism well beyond Iraq and Syria.

The former Egyptian military commander, in his first interview in the U.S. since formally taking power in June, also cautioned the administration against “washing its hands” of the Middle East at a time when the region’s borders are in flux and the threat of militancy is growing with the instability.

Mr. Sisi cited terrorist threats in Libya, Sudan, Yemen and the Sinai Peninsula as mirroring the danger posed to the Middle East and the West by Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.

He also said he is pursuing economic development, education and the promotion of religious tolerance as tools that were just as important for neutralizing Islamic State and other radical groups as military strikes.

“We can’t reduce the danger lurking in the region to ISIL. We have to bear in mind all the pieces of the puzzle,” Mr. Sisi said in a nearly hourlong interview at a Manhattan hotel. “We can’t just limit the confrontation to checking and destroying the Islamic State.”

Mr. Sisi, 59 years old, is attending the annual United Nations General Assembly this week as a sort of coming out party for one of his region’s most important new leaders.

Since taking office, Egypt’s sixth president has cut energy subsidies in a bid to revitalize his country’s economy, continued a broad crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood movement and worked closely with Israel to broker a tenuous cease-fire with the Palestinian militant group and political party, Hamas.

Leading Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have rallied behind Mr. Sisi as a central part of their effort to contain the political instability that has swept the region since late 2010 and toppled long-standing strongmen such as Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak.

The Obama administration, despite stating concerns about Cairo rolling back democratic reforms and the freedom of the press, has also increasingly sought to woo Mr. Sisi as a key ally in the fight against Islamic State.

To support this effort, the U.S. is preparing to deliver 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt that were placed on hold after Mr. Sisi and his military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood politician, in July 2013.

Mr. Sisi said he supports the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State. But he cautioned against his government getting significantly involved militarily. U.S. officials have talked of the possibility of the Egyptian military training Iraqi forces in counterterrorism tactics.

The Egyptian leader said Iraq’s military and countries closer to Iraq and Syria—particularly Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia—should play the most direct role in combating Islamic State.

“The physical assets for a coalition to be formed are there,” Mr. Sisi said. “The symbolism of a united coalition is very important.”

Mr. Sisi also suggested that Egypt will maintain its right to independently combat extremism and other threats to Cairo’s security.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Also see:

Salafis Return to Egypt’s Mosques and Media

by Raymond Ibrahim:

In a move that has many anti-Islamist Egyptians concerned, the government has again allowed the Salafis to return to preaching in mosques and on television.

They’re back

They’re back

Soon after the June 2013 revolution in Egypt, which saw the ousting (and subsequent imprisonment) of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic supremacist groups—chief among them the Salafis—were banned from preaching.Salafis are Muslims who profess to follow as literally as possible the teachings and habits of Islam’s prophet and his companions.

The logic was that they were the primary actors responsible for inciting the nation’s more zealous Muslims to attack government targets, Coptic Christian churches, etc.

Accordingly, their access to mosques and other outlets were severely curtailed.

According to Nabil Zaki, the former spokesman for Assembly Party of Egypt, this new  move allowing the Salafis, particularly the Nour party, to make a comeback

is a major setback that will make it that much harder for the government to combat reactionary thinking—and this, after the Egyptian public had made great strides against such thinking….  Permitting the Salafi sheikhs to ascend to the pulpits again revives the bitter experiences of confronting this form of thinking, bringing us back to square one.

Zaki and others also warned that this decision coincides with parliamentarian elections, meaning that the Salafi clerics will again use their influence and religious rhetoric to sway voters towards a more “reactionary,” that is, Islamic, agenda.

Caroline Glick: President Sisi’s Gift

Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah al-SissiBy Caroline Glick:

Something extraordinary has happened.

On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.

Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.

On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.

According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.

In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story.’” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”

In other words, Sisi offered Abbas a way to end the Palestinians’ suffering and grant them political independence. And Abbas said, “No, forget statehood. Let them suffer.”

Generations of Israeli leaders and strategists have insisted that Israel does not have the ability to satisfy the Palestinian demands by itself without signing its own death warrant. To satisfy the Palestinian demand for statehood, Israel’s neighbors in Egypt and Jordan would have to get involved.

Until Sisi made his proposal, no Arab leader ever seriously considered actually doing what must be done. Indeed, the rejection of this self-evident Israeli claim has been so overwhelming that in recent years, every Israeli suggestion to this effect was met with raised eyebrows and dismissal by Israelis and foreigners alike.

So what is driving Sisi? How do we account for this dramatic shift? In offering the Palestinians a large swathe of the Sinai, Sisi is not acting out of altruism. He is acting out of necessity. From his perspective, and from the perspective of his non-jihadist Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian campaign against Israel is dangerous.

Facing the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the rise of jihadist forces from al-Qaida to the Islamic State to the Muslim Brotherhood, the non-jihadist Sunnis no longer believe that the prolongation of the Palestinian jihad against Israel is in their interest.

Egypt and Jordan have already experienced the spillover of the Palestinian jihad. Hamas has carried out attacks in Egypt. The Palestinian jihad nearly destroyed Lebanon and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia now view Israel as a vital ally in their war against the Sunni jihadists and their struggle against Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. They recognize that Israeli action against Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran serves the interests of non-jihadi Sunnis. And, especially after the recent conflict in Gaza, they realize that the incessant Palestinian campaign against Israel ultimately strengthens the jihadist enemies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia like Hamas.

Apparently, Sisi’s offer to Abbas is an attempt to help the Palestinian people and take the Palestinian issue out of the hands of Palestinian jihadists.

Unfortunately for Sisi and his fellow non-jihadist Sunnis, Abbas is having none of this.

In rejecting Sisi’s offer Abbas stood true to his own record, to the legacies of every Palestinian leader since Nazi agent Haj Amin el-Husseini, and to the declared strategic goal of his own Fatah party and his coalition partners in Hamas. Since Husseini invented the Palestinians in the late 1920s, their leaders’ primary goals have never been the establishment of a Palestinian state or improving the lives of Palestinians. Their singular goal has always been the destruction of the Jewish state, (or state-in-themaking before 1948).

Sisi offered to end Palestinian suffering and provide the Palestinians with the land they require to establish a demilitarized state. Abbas rejected it because he is only interested hurting Israel. If Israel is not weakened by their good fortune, then the Palestinians should continue to suffer.

For Israel, Sisi’s proposal is a windfall.

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

Egypt Strikes Jihadis After Decapitation Video

ansar-bayt-al-maqdis-israel-mossad-beheadingjpg (1)Breitbart, By KATIE GORKA, Sep. 1, 2014:

Within just days of a video surfacing showing the decapitation of four Egyptian nationals, the Cairo government took decisive military action and killed the leader of the Jihadist group alleged to have been responsible

Several sources have reported that on Sunday, August 30, Egyptian forces carried out two successful operations against Islamist militants in Sinai. In Al Arish, a city on the northern coast of Sinai, members of a joint police-military action killed Fayez Abdallah Hamdan Abu-Sheta, believed to be a leader of the terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), thought responsible for the May 2013 kidnapping of 7 police officers and a border guard.

In a separate operation 32 miles away, in the town of Rafah, which borders Gaza, Egyptian forces killed 6 and arrested 10 others, Daily News Egypt reported. It has not yet been revealed whether those killed or arrested are members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, but this raid occurred three days after the Jihadi group released a very graphic video of the beheading of four Egyptians in Sinai for allegedly spying on behalf of Israel. The video is similar to that of U.S. journalist James Foley, whose beheading by ISIS on August 19, 2014, was also posted online.

While the world’s attention has been focused on the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and their aggressive sweep across Iraq and Syria, Egypt has been waging its own battle against violent jihadists, particularly in the Sinai.  This is a conflict kindled under the Muslim Brotherhood leadership of Mohamed Morsi and which exploded with his ouster in July 2013. When the Muslim Brotherhood announced at a rally on May 1, 2012 that their candidate for president would be Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi declared the following in his impassioned speech to the crowd of thousands (broadcast on Al-Nas television and translated by MEMRI TV):

We can see how the dream of the Islamic Caliphate is being realized, Allah willing, by Dr. Muhammad Mursi, and his brothers, his supporters, and his political party.  We can see how the great dream—shared by us all—that of the United States of the Arabs…the United States of the Arabs will be restored, Allah willing.  The United States of the Arabs will be restored by this man and his supporters. The capital of the Caliphate—the capital of the United States of the Arabs—will be Jerusalem, Allah willing.  Mursi will liberate Gaza tomorrow….Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca or Medina.  It shall be Jerusalem, Allah willing. Our cry shall be: ‘Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.’  Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas. Forget about the whole world, forget about all the conferences. Brandish your weapons…Say your prayers….And pray to the Lord.

 

 

As Thomas Joscelyn, senior editor of the Long War Journal, testified before Congress in February 2014, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt in January 2011, Al Qaeda and other violent jihadist groups saw an opportunity for proselytizing and rebuilding the ummah, or Muslim community of believers. Not only was the new government of Mohamed Morsi not going to crack down on jihadists, but he greatly aided their cause by releasing many of them from prison, including members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and Gamaa Islamiyya (IG). Egypt became fertile ground for their activities, and the Sinai took on a particular importance because it was the perfect launching ground for renewed attacks on Israel. This suggests that there is also a strong correlation between the terrorism in the Sinai and the fighting in Gaza. The Muslim Brotherhood promised to free Gaza and to rebuild the Caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which translates to “Champions of Jerusalem,” began operations in January 2011 with the uprisings that led to the overthrow of the Egyptian government. Initially, they targeted Israel. In July 2012, they blew up a pipeline that served Israel, calling it treason to send Egyptian resources to Israel, according to an article in Egypt News Daily. But following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government on July 3, 2013, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis stepped up their attacks and directed the majority of them against the Egyptian police and military. Their near-daily attacks included the execution of 24 unarmed policemen on August 19, 2013, the attempted assassination of Interior Minister Muhammad Ibrahim in September 2013, an attack on South Sinai’s Security Directorate, and an attack on the military intelligence building in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya in October 2013.

The attacks by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as well as other terrorist groups operating in the Sinai are explicitly carried out in retaliation for the Egyptian military’s role in helping to oust Mohammed Morsi and for their subsequent crackdown by military and police on groups engaging in violence. Indeed, the relationship between groups such as the violent Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the “non-violent” Muslim Brotherhood may be more than ancillary. According to the BBC, some have identified Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Several different sources, including Nabil Naeem, founder of the Islamic Jihad, allege that Khairat al-Shater, the deputy supreme guide of the Brotherhood, directly supports Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. Follow her on Twitter@katharinegorka.

 

What Obama Really Wants in Gaza

Screen-Shot-2014-07-29-at-1.50.36-PMby :

While Israelis are fighting and dying, families huddling in bomb shelters and soldiers going off to face death, the men and women in suits and power suits moving through the great halls of diplomacy are using them as pawns in a larger game.

During the Cold War, Israel was a pawn in a larger struggle between the US and the USSR. Now it is back to being a counter in a larger game.

Israel’s function within the great halls of diplomacy was always as a lever on the Arab states. It was not an end, but a means of moving them one way or another. When the Arab states drifted into the Soviet orbit, the “Special Relationship” was born. The relationship accomplished its goal once Egypt was pried out of the Soviet orbit. It has lingered on because of the emotional and cultural ties of Israel and the US.

Now Obama is using Israel as a lever to push Egypt back into the Islamist camp. Egypt’s rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood broke the Arab Spring. Political Islam, which seemed to be on the ascendance, is back to being a freak show represented by terrorists and Turkey’s mad mustachioed dictator.

Egypt was where Obama went to begin the Arab Spring. Egypt is still his target. Israel is just the lever.

The reason Israel was never allowed to truly win any wars was because it was being used as a lever. By being a “good lever” during the Cold War, it could damage Egypt enough that the latter would come to the negotiating table overseen by the US and move back into the Western sphere of influence.

Israel couldn’t be allowed to win a big enough victory because then there would nothing to negotiate. Likewise, Israel wouldn’t be allowed to keep what it won because then there would be no reason for Egypt to come to the negotiating table. Sometimes Israel would even be expected to lose, as in the Yom Kippur War, to force it to come to the negotiating table.

Swap Egypt for the PLO and that’s how the disastrous peace process happened. Then swap the PLO for Hamas and that is where we are now.

Obama’s initial support for Israel’s war on Hamas was only to the extent necessary to bring the terrorist group to the negotiating table. And then once Hamas comes to the negotiating table, the White House will back its demands against Israel in exchange for getting the Brotherhood on board with its agenda.

Israel is just the means; the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam are the objective. That objective may mean the end of the West, but those striding boldly through the halls of diplomacy are not worried.

The real target of the Hamas campaign wasn’t Israel; it was Egypt.

Read more at Front Page

Also see:

Egyptian TV Accuses Hamas Leaders of Living in Luxury While Their People Die

Front Page, by Daniel Greenfield:

Considering Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Egyptian soldiers and their involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt, they’re not exactly that country’s favorite terrorist organization.

And you can see that in these TV clips in which Egyptian hosts accuse Hamas leaders of living in luxury, dining out, sitting at swimming pools with their four wives, while the fighting goes on.

 

They also point out that their rocket squads operate from civilian areas and are bringing a new “Nakba” on their people.

An image of Khaled Mash’al exercising at a gym: You can see how Khaled is waging Jihad in Qatar.

Image of Mash’al eating a lavish meal: This is brother Khaled Mash’al’s version of Jihad. Khaled, the Jihad is in Gaza…

Image of Mash’al watching TV: Or, of course, he is watching their TV channel. This is the Jihad of Khaled Mash’al and his comrades, the honorable and great mujahideen. As they wage this sort of Jihad, they abandon the people to get killed. If you were a real man, you would be back in Gaza first thing tomorrow morning.

Image of Haniya sitting next to a blond young woman: This is his Jihad, Allah be praised… This is the greatest Jihad performed by Isamil Haniya and his brothers in Hamas.

Of course Khaled isn’t going to Gaza.

Why do you, in the Al-Qassam Brigades, [hide] among civilians? Why do you use people’s homes? You should keep your hideouts away from people’s homes. You know full well that when you launch a missile form a home, a missile will land on that home within one minute. You are bringing another nakba upon your people.

Another show was even more explicit about the luxurious Hamas lifestyle.

Talk show host Mazher Shahin: We are not prepared to sacrifice even a single hair from the eyebrow of an Egyptian soldier or civilian, for the sake of Hamas and all the people who wage Jihad, while indulging themselves in all kinds of dishes at the swimming pool…

They goad people into fighting, terrorism, and violence, under the pretext of “Jihad,” while they themselves sit at a hotel, a swimming pool, or a nudist beach, eating a variety of dishes, marrying four wives, and driving the latest model luxury cars. What is this?! What kind of men are you?

You know where the border between Israel and Palestine is. If there is a real man among you, I am willing to drive him in my own car and at my own expense to the Gaza border. I will drop him there and say: “Go. May God be with you. Gaza is there. Jihad awaits you. Go in and show us you’re a real man.”

The more “moderate” suggestions out of Saudi Arabia meanwhile propose that Hamas disaffiliate itself with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Also see:

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Middle East experts Raymond Ibrahim and Tawfik Hamid to discuss the latest developments with the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran and what can be done to counter the jihadist.

Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas

by Khaled Abu Toameh:

Over the past week there are voices coming out of Egypt and some Arab countries — voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims.

“Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas!” — Azza Sami of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.

Isolated and under attack, Hamas now realizes that it has lost the sympathy of many Egyptians and Arabs.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has thus far turned down appeals from Palestinians and other Arabs to work toward achieving a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Sisi and urged him to intervene to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas. Abbas later admitted that his appeal to Sisi and (other Arab leaders) had fallen on deaf ears.

Sisi’s decision not to intervene in the current crisis did not come as a surprise. In fact, Sisi and many Egyptians seem to be delighted that Hamas is being badly hurt.

 

An uncomfortable moment during an April 2014 meeting between PA President Abbas and Egyptian President Sisi. (Image source: Video from President Abbas’ Office)

Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.”

Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year.

The Egyptians today understand that Hamas and other radical Islamist groups pose a serious threat to their national security. That is why the Egyptian authorities have, over the past year, been taking tough security measures not only against Hamas, but also the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

These measures include the destruction of dozens of smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.

True, there are still many Egyptians and Arabs who sympathize with Hamas, mainly because it is being targeted by Israel. But over the past week, there are also different voices coming out of Egypt and some other Arab countries — voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip.

This is perhaps because a growing number of Arabs and Muslims are fed up with the Islamist terrorists who are imposing a reign of terror and intimidation in the Arab world, particularly in Iraq and Syria. They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims.

Sisi and other Arab leaders are now sitting on the fence and hoping that this time Israel will complete the job and get rid of Hamas once and for all. Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah are certainly not going to shed a tear if Hamas is crushed and removed from power in the Gaza Strip.

The reaction of some Egyptians to the Israeli military operation has shocked Hamas and other Palestinians. As one Hamas spokesman noted: “It’s disgraceful to see that some Egyptians are publicly supporting the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip while Westerners are expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and condemning Israel.”

Addressing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian actor Amr Mustafa said that they should not expect any help from the Egyptians. “You must get rid of Hamas and we will help you,” he said. He also called on Hamas to stop meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries. “Pull your men out of Egypt, Syria and Libya,” Mustafa demanded. “In Egypt, we are today fighting poverty that was caused by wars. We have enough of our own problems. Don’t expect the Egyptians to give more than what they have already given. We’ve had enough of what you did to our country.”

Read more at Gatestone Institute

El-Sissi Takes the Reins: 3 Big Things to Know about Egypt’s New Pharaoh

Egyptians gather outside the presidential palace to celebrate former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's victory in the presidential vote in Cairo on June 5, 2014.Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egyptians gather outside the presidential palace to celebrate former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s victory in the presidential vote in Cairo on June 5, 2014.Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

by Raymond Stock, Fox NewsJune 8, 2014

On Sunday June 8, Egypt’s former defense minister, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, was inaugurated as the sixth president–a de facto pharaoh, though chosen by the people–of the oldest nation-state on earth.

As expected, Egyptians overwhelmingly voted May 26-28 to elect him to lead the country, which he as ruled indirectly since overthrowing his predecessor, Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), in the face of massive popular demand last July 3.

From the moment he ousted Morsi–who had turned a narrow electoral mandate in June 2012 into a brutal Islamist dictatorship almost overnight, alienating the vast majority of the country–the hugely popular El-Sissi has been ceaselessly attacked by a wide array of forces both at home and abroad.

These attacks have come not only from the Al Qaeda-allied MB and its Salafi allies in an increasingly violent insurgency that has so far claimed nearly 2,000 lives, but also from many Western journalists, Middle East experts, government officials and even key members of Congress, who have accused him of being just another military strong man who has usurped an elected leader.

Some even see him as holding onto a clandestine vision of religious rule of his own, and as a person far less popular than his cult of the personality suggests.

Though there are some elements of truth in this criticism, driving much of it is a combination of ideological blindness and ignorance (or denial) of the basic facts about both El-Sissi and his country, plus an idealistic demand for perfect democracy in a time of bloody upheaval in a land that has known essentially harsh, pharaonic-style rule for the past five millennia.

Here are three big things to know about the new president of the largest Arab country, which since 1979 has been America’s closest ally in the Middle East after Israel.

1. Despite claims to the contrary, El-Sissi does have an electoral mandate.

With the MB and most Islamists, plus some of the original 2011 secular liberal activists boycotting the vote, about 35% of the population turned out to vote on May 26-27, in the midst of a searing heat wave.

This was roughly the same percentage for Morsi’s December 2012 Constitutional referendum, and for the vote on a de-Islamistized version of it that passed–by a far higher margin–in January 2014.

Still, this was not deemed enough, so balloting was extended to a third day on May 28 with the threat of fines for those who stayed away from the polls, an unusual move.

Egypt, like 21 other countries–including a number in Europe–has a compulsory voting law, though it is not usually enforced.

In the end, participation officially reached 47.5%–and a delegation of monitors from the European Parliament declared the election was run in a “democratic and free” manner, though it was “not necessarily fair,” due to self-censorship among some in the media.

This compares well with the 46% who turned out for the first round of presidential voting in May 2012, and the 52% in the second round that June—when there were no major boycotts, amid considerable suspense about who would win, while in this case, El-Sissi was a shoo-in.

A separate Election Observation Mission (EOM) from the European Union, while saying that the vote “fell short of constitutional principles,” stopped short of further criticism and added that the media atmosphere around it was “fair.”

Egypt’s election commission announced on June 3 that El-Sissi had won 96.91% of the votes, versus 3.09% for his only opponent, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.

El-Sissi gained 23.78 million votes, 10 million more than the 13 million won by Morsi in June 2012, in which he narrowly beat Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq–who later complained that the vote count was fixed.

Sabahi earned but 318,000 votes, fewer than the 1.4 million spoiled ballots cast.

El-Sissi, whom the late pre-election opinion polls put at 74%-to-86% approval (roughly twice that of President Barack Obama’s at home at present), could not campaign in person due to the ongoing violence, as well as at least two alleged plots on his life.

This was compounded by the famously quiet (and deeply private) field marshal’s failure to even issue a detailed electoral program, fueling yet more speculation about what he really intends to do in office.

For its part, the MB has dismissed the current election as “null and void.”

2. Despite excesses, El-Sissi’s war against the Islamists is ours as well.

Some have argued that Morsi’s removal and El-Sissi’s election prove the validity of Al Qaeda’s objection to the MB’s strategy of gaining power through democratic means.

Hence, more of their followers will turn to AQ and similar groups out of frustration with the results from the use of peaceful means—which they say has happened in Egypt.

The assumption is that the Egyptians–not to mention the rest of us at war with Islamist terrorists–should accept whatever the fanatics do so long as they are elected, including quickly laying the groundwork for what was an obvious coup of their own, in which future elections either would not happen, or be meaningless if they did.

By this logic, perhaps to avoid alienating the MB’s base, we should have hoped for the Islamists to keep winning elections, as they did in the first parliamentary contests and the first presidency post-Hosni Mubarak–and then do nothing if they brazenly abuse the power they gain in this fashion.

That said, there have indeed been many abuses in the crackdown on the MB and its Salafi allies launched by the interim government that was appointed by El-Sissi.

Yet the first violence came from the opposition, as the MB wrongly blamed Egypt’s large Coptic Christian minority for Morsi’s ouster, inciting an immediate orgy of looting and burning of Christian churches, schools and homes by its supporters in July, the sabotage of public buildings, plus brutal attacks on police and others.

After a long standoff, roughly 700 to 1,000 persons died in operations to remove pro-Morsi demonstrators from two Cairo squares on August 14, though it later emerged from credible sources that armed provocateurs among them had opened fire first, and the graves of at least eighty people, tortured and murdered as suspected informants, were found at these sites when they were cleared.

Since then, the majority of deaths have come from the almost daily bombings and shootings launched by the insurgents, as well as continued violent demonstrations, prompting the government to formally ban the MB, and to label it — as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also done — a terrorist organization.

Even more strikingly, the MB’s Palestinian branch, Hamas, listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Europe and Israel, but formerly a darling of Egyptian popular opinion, was also banned due to its suspected role in aiding the insurgents — to popular acclaim.

What was heroic to inflict on Israeli civilians was suddenly insidious when done to Egyptians — but still it is a refreshing change.

Laws have been passed banning unauthorized demonstrations, professors and liberal activists have been charged with dubious offenses, more than a thousand accused Islamists have been summarily condemned to death for murder and pillage, mostly in absentia (though these will be automatically overturned when the condemned are apprehended), burning the nation’s flag or failing to stand for the national anthem have been criminalized, and “Egypt’s Jon Stewart,” political satirist Bassem Youssef, has canceled his TV program due to threats from persons unknown.

Critics of these steps were largely silent when the previous regime blatantly overrode the Constitution, terrorized the opposition and attempted to impose a permanent, one-party Islamist state at breathtaking speed and thoroughness.

And the MB — wrongly considered “moderate” — and its Salafi allies are in fact radical groups committed to the overthrow of less militant regimes and the destruction of America and the West, even while gladly accepting our assistance in the meantime.

Yet instead of cutting aid to the Muslim Brotherhood government, Obama increased it, while his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, overrode human rights objections from Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who tried to put it on hold pending review.

As a result, most Egyptians now disdain our president, who reached out to the MB in his June 4, 2009 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, as a hypocrite, and have applauded El-Sissi’s recent agreement to buy an unprecedented $2 billion in military equipment from Russia, signaling that our more than three-decades old alliance is now in serious danger.

Obama effectively froze aid to post-Morsi Egypt in October 9, and when Congress this year passed a $1.5 billion mostly military package for Cairo, Leahy again put it on hold. But in contrast to what happened under Morsi, current Secretary of State John Kerry has failed to counteract it, though he did allow the transfer of 24 previously-blocked Apache helicopters to help fight the terrorists in Sinai.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pay $400 million per year to the Palestinian Authority, even though it now includes Hamas, and is planning to arm and train Syrian insurgents who will likely include many members of the MB and other Islamists, and who also pose a threat to Egypt, our European allies and ourselves.

And we haven’t even talked about handing 5 top Taliban commanders temporarily over to Qatar, the MB’s biggest financial backer and a patron of the Taliban, in exchange for a probable deserter who might also be a collaborator.

These are all serious mistakes that we may someday rue while wondering what happened to our former favored access to the Suez Canal, the Egyptian peace with Israel and key cooperation with Cairo in our common war against terror.

3. El-Sissi is pious, but probably not–as some have claimed–a “secret Islamist.”

In August 2012, Morsi appointed then-General al-El-Sissi as defense minister, based on his seemingly pro-MB views—and was no doubt shocked when his protégé turned on him for behaving like a president from the MB.

However, though born into a conservative, not militant, religious family in the Gamaliyah district in the heart of the Islamic Cairo, the native district of the late Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature, Naguib Mahfouz, El-Sissi, like Mahfouz, was also raised as a fervent nationalist.

When Morsi freed and even elevated terrorists who had made war on the Egyptian state, worked covertly with terrorists killing Egyptian troops in Sinai, offered to possibly hand over Egyptian land along the border with Sudan to the Islamist regime in Khartoum, and seemed poised to declare jihad against the Assad regime in Damascus, he undoubtedly viewed him as betraying Egypt’s most basic national interests.

Since then, he has vowed to completely destroy the MB and its fellow proponents of political Islam, has spoken in praise of Egypt’s persecuted Christians, and—most intriguingly of all—called in late January for a comprehensive modernization of Islam as a whole.

In a daring speech, quoted here by U.S. Marine Lt. Col. (ret.) James Zumwalt of UPI on January 28, he challenged the Muslim world to give up centuries of dogmatic thinking and for the Islamists to abandon the call to war:

“Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people, pointing to the need for a new vision and a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam — rather than relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years.”

As Zumwalt noted, this means that El-Sissi believes Islam has been intellectually–and even spiritually — frozen since 1258.

That was the year the Mongols sacked Baghdad, ending Islam’s Golden Age, and was roughly the time when religious scholars had agreed that “the science is settled,” and there would no more great debate on what the faith is, a process that began centuries before.

By making this bold statement—and by waging his own holy struggle against the forces of evil—he is putting his own life on the line as well.

We should indeed watch him closely now that he grasps the reins of power directly, for the first time, to see if he follows these bold words, as well as what they mean in reality, and if he rules oppressively in person.

But for the time being, he is fighting our enemies — who are also Egypt’s own — and has even increased cooperation with our friends, the Israelis.

Some now say that’s just where we were under Mubarak — whom Obama deliberately helped push from pharaoh’s palace in Heliopolis in 2011.

But Mubarak, now 86, was an aging oligarch who became president only when his predecessor, Anwar Sadat, was shot dead by Islamists while standing next to him in 1981, and who had no itch for change.

El-Sissi may yet go the way of his hero Sadat, who he has said came to him in a dream that seemed to prophecy he would one day be president of Egypt.

Like El-Sissi, Sadat–“the believing president”–started out close to the Muslim Brotherhood, but soon had to combat them — and wound up murdered by one of their offshoots as a result.

And like Sadat, especially given who might follow him, we may very much miss El-Sissi when he is gone.

Let’s try for a better ending this time.

Raymond Stock, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a former Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Drew University, spent twenty years in Egypt, and was deported by the Mubarak regime in 2010. He is writing a biography of 1988 Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006) for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and is a prolific translator of his works, most recently “Before the Throne” (Anchor Books/Random House, July 2012).

 

Iran’s Plan to Destabilize Egypt

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci:

Iran is planning an offensive against Egypt from the west and from the south.

The Iranian government has long-term plans.

The Iranian regime’s new enemy, it seems, is Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Iran’s mullahs apparently fear Sisi’s secular stance against Islamist movements, and see him as an obstacle to Iran’s future influence in the Middle East.

According to the Jordan-based media outlet Al-Bawaba, Iran is determined to put an end to Al-Sisi’s rule by training the Libya-based Islamist group known as the Free Egyptian Army [FEA]. The FEA is composed of both Egyptian jihadists who went to fight in Syria during the rule of Egypt’s former President, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, as well as other Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood militants who fled from Egypt to Libya after Morsi was removed from power.

 

Then Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi embraces then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon his arrival in Cairo on February 5, 2013. Ahmadinejad was Iran’s first leader to visit Egypt since the two countries cut diplomatic relations in 1980. (Image source: Ahmadinejad official handout)

According to Al Bawaba, personnel of the Quds Force — the special-forces arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] — arrived in Libya to train the FEA in Misrata, northwestern Libya. Quds Force officers met with FEA leaders — reportedly Abu Dawud Zouhairi and Karam Amrani. There, Lebanese jihadists coming from Syria and led by Abu Fahed Al-Islam also joined the FEA.

Iran is planning an offensive against Egypt not only from the west (Libya), but also from the south.

The Egyptian newspaper El-Watan reports that the Iran has also deployed Quds Force personnel to Sudan, to take advantage of the deterioration of the relationship between the Islamist-led Sudanese government and Sisi’s Egypt, and is now training Muslim Brotherhood militants in Sudan.

A Jordanian newspaper, Al-Arab Al-Yawm, confirmed the news, and reported in addition that Iran is organizing violent operations to destabilize Egypt from Libya and Sudan.

Although in the Middle East, Sunni and Shia factions usually fight each other, this time an unholy Sunni-Shia alliance has been formed between Shia Iran and the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood to fight their common enemy: Al-Sisi.

For years, Iran’s regime has dreamt of seeing the Muslim Brotherhood rise in Egypt as part of a plan to Islamize the Middle East. In this vision Iran would take the leadership role — brushing aside that for years, Iran and Saudi Arabia have jockeyed over who would assume the leadership of the Muslim world. As the Muslim Brotherhood has always been opposed to the Saudi Kingdom, it was taken for granted that an Egypt governed by the Muslim Brotherhood would be the natural ally of Iran.

As Iranian author and journalist Amir Taheri describes in the Saudi-owned newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, Iran cherished Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed former President, Mohamed Morsi. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Morsi, Taheri writes, were supposed to symbolize the triumph of radical Islam. The leadership in Tehran apparently also felt that it had to “profit from its political, propaganda and even financial investment” in ensuring Morsi’s election.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

The Mirage of Political Islam

Miguel Montaner

Miguel Montaner

America should help, not hinder, the secular democrats of the Muslim world.

By 

“You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”

President Obama delivered these words in his Cairo speech, five years ago today, when he reached out to rehabilitate Islam and Islamic civilization in the eyes of the world — and redeem America in the eyes of the global Muslim community after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Cairo speech was part of the road map based on the advice of the 2008 report “Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations With the Muslim World,” drafted by the leadership group on United States-Muslim engagement, composed of former senior government officials, both Democrat and Republican, as well as scholars (myself included), political analysts and international relations experts. All of us were concerned about the divide between America and the Muslim world, and we recommended that the new president deliver a major speech in a significant Islamic capital — Cairo, Istanbul, Jakarta or Rabat — directly addressing the Muslim world. That’s what Mr. Obama did at Cairo University on June 4, 2009.

Since then, Egypt has experienced the “Arab Spring,” followed first by the Muslim Brotherhood’s election to power, and then its downfall. If Mr. Obama’s message of 2009 had been conveyed again more forcefully to Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, before he was ousted by the army last July, the hopes of Arabs and Muslims around the world after the Cairo speech might not have been as disappointed as they are today.

Sadly, every one of the “ingredients” for democracy listed by Mr. Obama was flouted by Mr. Morsi during his tumultuous year in office. He forced the passage of the Muslim Brotherhood’s 2012 constitution, issued edicts imposing himself over the judiciary, failed to provide protections to Coptic Christians, started vendettas against journalists and activists and treated the secular opposition as enemies to be excluded from political life. In short, the Egyptian president furthered the political aims of the Muslim Brotherhood at the expense of the nation, exactly as Mr. Obama had cautioned against.

The result is that the Obama administration has found itself in an uncomfortable position. As the president remarked to the United Nations General Assembly last September, “America has been attacked by all sides of this internal conflict, simultaneously accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and engineering their removal of power.”

But if the administration had been more critical of the Brotherhood’s infringements of democratic rights, it might have avoided this situation. Instead, when asked about Mr. Morsi’s fiat of November 2012 that gave his regime extraordinary powers, a State Department spokesman responded, “this is an Egyptian political process.” Mr. Obama may have said that “elections alone do not equal democracy,” but America acted as though elections in Egypt were sufficient. In the words of America’s ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, “the fact is they ran in a legitimate election and won” — as if that settled the issue of the Brotherhood’s fitness for democratic rule.

Read more at New York Times

Mustapha Tlilia novelist and a research scholar at New York University, is the founder and director of the N.Y.U. Center for Dialogues: Islamic World – U.S. – the West.

Judge Jeanine rips Obama over feckless foreign policy & refusal to support Egypt

Published on May 24, 2014 by LSUDVM

Tonight, in her opening statement which was delayed because of the shooting in California, Judge Jeanine ripped Obama over his feckless foreign policy and the lack of support for Egypt and its Military in fighting terrorism such as Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Understanding Benghazi: The Al Qaeda-Muslim Brotherhood Connection

benghazi_bloody_handprint_APBreitbart, by COUNCIL FOR GLOBAL SECURITY:

The Hague’s International Center for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) recently released a report that shatters leftist talking points on the political situation in North Africa.

The report, titled “Security in the Sinai: Present and Future,” details not only the Sinai peninsula’s decent into chaos over the last two years, but synthesizes available research on the entire Islamist/Jihadi nexus that crosses North Africa, linking the Benghazi attack, Salafist activism undertaken by the Muslim Brotherhood, and links to what the administration’s intellectual vassals refer to as “al-Qaeda core.”

Sinai has long been a problem region for the Egyptian government, with bedouin tribes often taking advantage of a lack of governance in the peninsula during Egypt’s periods of political and economic upheaval. The most recent period of unrest is no different, with bedouin bandits engaging in criminal activity as soon as Mubarak’s political future was called into question by massive protests.

This banditry was rapidly replaced by Islamist militias connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, who targeted Coptic churches as well as Egyptian state assets, including police outposts along the trans-Sinai oil pipeline. These attacks were against the Egyptian state and economy; they were not mere acts of profit-seeking criminality. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM), the most prominent jihadist group in Egypt, went so far as to use suicide bombings against Korean tourists, explicitly stating that they intended to ruin Egypt’s economy by targeting its heavy reliance on tourism.

This jihadist insurgency is supported by a larger political infrastructure, organized under the moniker of Salafiya Jihadiya (SJ). SJ was responsible for the extremely well organized “spontaneous” protests over an obscure video that targeted U.S. Embassies and installations across the Muslim world and is led by none other than Ayman al-Zawahiri’s younger brother, Muhammad al-Zawahiri.

Muhammad Jamal Abd al Rahim Ahmad al Kashif (frequently referred to as just Muhammad Jamal) is a veteran jihadist closely affiliated with Zawahiri. Jamal was mistakenly released in 2011, and in the two years before his arrest in 2013 he was responsible for establishing jihadist training camps in Sinai, Libya, and Western Egypt. Jamal is also known to have been closely involved in the September 11, 2012 attack on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya. Upon his arrest, Jamal was discovered to have been in direct contact with Ayman al-Zawahiri, requesting assistance and reporting that groundwork had been laid for an al Qaeda enterprise in Sinai. Jamal is also believed to have trained and directed Walid Badr, a former Egyptian military officer who served as a suicide bomber in an attempt on the life of the Egyptian Minister of Interior.

With Muhammad Jamal and Muhammad Zawahiri both connected to the attack against the US consulate in Benghazi (and with Zawahiri personally present at the riot outside of the US embassy in Cairo, where the American flag was torn down and replaced by the black banner of al-Qaeda), it would defy logic to remain content with the administration’s story. But the thread doesn’t end there.

In February, the Egyptian government released intercepted recordings of phone calls between then-president Muhammad Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri. Zawahiri was formally acquitted of terrorism charges by Morsi in 2012 and was reported by CNN to be “helping” negotiations with jihadists in Sinai during Morsi’s tenure. Additional reporting, cited by the Jerusalem Post, acknowledges not only that Morsi and the younger Zawahiri were in contact, but that the Muslim Brotherhood’s original contender for the Egyptian presidency, Khariat el-Shater, was in contact with “al Qaeda core” elements in Pakistan and Palestine.

Muhammad Zawahiri’s quasi-political role in Salafiya Jihadiya, his intimate affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood’s official leadership, his association with Muhammad Jamal’s jihadist infrastructure in Sinai, and his overt and direct participation in what the administration insists was a “spontaneous protest” in Cairo and Benghazi is a damning indictment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s direct connections to al-Qaeda.

Effectively, if Muhammad Zawahiri wanted to talk to his older brother he would have had to ask Morsi if he could use his phone. In the same instance, if the “core” of al Qaeda wanted to establish contact with Muhammad Jamal, its franchise in Northern Africa, including Benghazi, it would have likely relied on the same personalities. All of the above simply reinforce the stakes of the elections today and tomorrow in Cairo. General Sisi has openly stated his commitment to crush the Brotherhood beacause of its ties to al Qaeda. A victory for Sisi would be a victory against Salafi Jihadism.

The Hague is a European institution — it is not involved in American partisan politics and has no reason to bend the facts on Benghazi and the Brotherhood to fit a partisan agenda. These are the facts of the case, and those who continue to deny that Benghazi was a result of a “larger failure of foreign policy” are finally starting to feel the heat.

The Council for Global Security is a Washington-based non-profit organization that support democracy, prosperity and the protection of minorities around the world.

 

Democracy Versus the Muslim Brotherhood

egypt-police-car-bombing-afpBreitbart, by :

Mr. Abdul Fattah Sisi has run a quiet election campaign. The former Egyptian general and Minister of Defense rose to prominence after siding with ​the protest by ​33 million ​​Egyptian​s​​​​ that toppled the M​​uslim Brotherhood​ rule of Muhammad Morsi. ​Sisi​ is now expected to be elected to t​he​ nation’s highest office.

Though campaign posters for Sisi are common, he himself has made few public appearances, with several events canceled over security concerns stemming from Islamist militants affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and al ​Qaeda. This insecurity is not unfamiliar to Egyptians; an assassin affiliated with the Brotherhood killed President Anwar Sadat in 1981 for the crime of making peace with Israel.

While some decry the interim government’s heavy-handed approach towards the Brotherhood, the MB have made it very difficult for Egypt to progress toward democracy. ​Sisi is seen by many in Egypt as a hero for having rescued the nation from the Muslim Brotherhood and responding to the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked terrorists responsible for numerous attacks since Morsi was removed. A common refrain heard among Egyptians is that the Muslim Brotherhood were not interested in supporting the nation of Egypt but instead establishing a theocractic caliphate.

Sisi is expected to easily win against Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist candidate who favors a strong state role in the Egyptian economy. Expat voting ended May 19th, with Sisi winning 94.5% of votes cast. The election will be held over May 26th and 27th, and results are expected between June 1st and 3rd. The government has offered to release all but 300 Muslim Brotherhood members from prison in exchange for ​the Brotherhood’s ​participation in the democratic process, but the Islamist movement continues to demand the reinstatement of Morsi and the execution of generals and politicians responsible for their removal from power, all while embracing a rhetoric of jihad and martyrdom.

Instead of participating in a democracy that leaves space for Christians and non-Islamist Egyptian Muslims, the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideological affiliates have embraced violence, not merely violent rhetoric. On Monday, May 19, three policemen were killed by gunmen just outside Al ​Azhar University, one of the world’s oldest ​Muslim ​institutions of learning ​and the most important Sunni theological authority.​

Last Saturday four people were injured by an explosive device set off at a rally for Sisi in the Ezbet El-Nakhl neighborhood of Cairo, one of Cairo’s poorer, largely Christian districts, ​and earlier this month ​Sisi announced that two attempts on his life had been stopped.

Sisi has not been the only target. Egypt’s Interior Minister announced Wednesday that the country had foiled several high-level assassination plots organized by the Brotherhood, including attempts to kill not only the interim president, but the Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior, and several high-ranking members of Egypt’s police force. The greatest test of Egypt’s domestic security since the Islamists were​​ deposed with the support of the population will come ​​this week as the ancient country of Egypt attempts its second ever f​ree election.​

​The Council for Global Security is a Washington-based​​​ non-profit organization that support democracy, prosperity and the protection of minorities in the in the Middle East.