U.S. Should Help Egypt in Its War on Terror

(Foreign Affairs) David Schenker - To date, Cairo has demonstrated a stunning lack of will and competence to eradicate ISIS from Egyptian territory. The Trump administration should use its burgeoning relationship with the Sisi government to help Cairo improve its counterterrorism practices. Notwithstanding its 440,000-strong standing army and $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military assistance, over the past five years Egypt has been unable to contain - much less roll back - some 600-1,000 insurgents. During the same time, ISIS has killed 2,000 Egyptian soldiers and policemen in Sinai. Egyptian ground forces do not routinely and proactively engage with the enemy. Instead, they are slowly attrited by ambushes and roadside bombs. Egypt is increasingly subcontracting out its security to the Israeli Air Force, which targets terrorists via manned and unmanned aircraft operating in Egyptian airspace. Israel is "mowing the grass" in Sinai, but it is not reversing ISIS' territorial gains, an objective that would require (non-Israeli) boots on the ground. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2017-05-12 00:00:00

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