Egypt is now looking to India for help in its battle against ISIS.
Late last year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was snubbed by President Obama during his visit to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly’s 70th meeting.
Now, al-Sisi is gearing up to meet the two top challengers in the race to be the next Oval Office occupant.
An adviser to U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign said on Sunday that Trump will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday during the United Nations General Assembly, just as Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, is also scheduled to do.
Clinton, who faces Trump in the Nov. 8 election, announced last week that she would meet both with Sisi and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in bilateral sessions expected to take place late on Monday. A foreign policy advisor to Trump, Walid Phares, told Reuters on Sunday that Trump would also have talks with Sisi on the same day.
For Trump, a New York real estate magnate and reality-TV show host who has never held political office, it marks the second time in recent weeks he has tried to burnish his foreign-policy credentials to compete with Clinton, the former Secretary of State under President Barack Obama and a U.S. Senator from New York.
It will be intriguing to gage what the Egyptian leader makes of the back-to-back sessions with the candidates, especially in terms of assisting Egypt in its own battle against ISIS-sponsored terror.
Donald Trump is not popular among the Egyptians, given his statements against banning Muslims earlier in the campaign season. However, the GOP contender recognizes that Egypt is a critical regional ally in the fight against terror.
Trump has said he plans to work with Sisi to fight terrorism as president, describing him as a leader who recognizes that “this ideology of death that must be extinguished.”
Trump helped his campaign immeasurably when he met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Austin Bay, Instapundit contributor and adjunct professor at the University of Texas in Austin, had this analysis of Trump’s Mexican gambit:
…. His showmanship is his political genius. At The Mexican Trade Show Trump looked presidential, and far more so than Hillary ever has. Note that President Pena also invited Clinton, but she didn’t show. If she’d come she’d have had to face the media and someone just might have asked her about The Clinton Foundation or Benghazi.
Or, perhaps, she might be asked about the fruits of “Arab Spring”, the seeds of which were sown in 2011 at Cairo’s Tahrir Square?
Meanwhile, al-Sisi is expanding his base of foreign friends in a fascinating new direction. Vladimir Putin has been exploiting the chilly relationship between Obama and al-Sisi to warm up relations between Egypt and Russia.
Now, al-Sisi is partnering with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrange an agreement to build a “robust defense and security cooperation.”
“Despite relentless change of the global order our joint effort to find solution for various international issues remains on track. We will work together to counter extremism and terrorism through a robust military and security cooperation and will work on evacuation of people from areas hit by natural disasters or conflicts,” Mr. el-Sisi said during a joint press conference with Mr. Modi, at the end of his visit to India.
Mr. el-Sisi who is visiting Delhi with a large business and government delegation said that India and Egypt will upgrade economic and trade ties, increase mutual visits, intensify counter terror cooperation, and work on renewable energy.
The Egyptian President has struggled to create stability in the country after the civil disorder of the “Egyptian Revolution” led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests, the loss of its ancient riches, and the collapse of its vital tourism industry. Happily, it appears tourists are beginning to trickle back.
Let’s hope that the future POTUS will offer al-Sisi something more than bullying after Jan. 20, 2017.
UPDATE: Egyptian publication Aswat Masriya reports that the meetings, not surprisingly, showed two starkly different foriegn policy approaches.
The session with Donald Trump in which he and al-Sisi focused on the fight against terror.
The Republican candidate hailed Sisi and expressed his “strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism and how under a Trump administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead,” the Trump campaign said in a statement.
Trump described the US-Egypt relationship as “vital to help promote peace and stability in the Middle East,” the campaign said.
Then, during their meeting together, Hillary Clinton placed some demands on the Egyptian leader:
During her meeting with Sisi, Clinton called for the release of the US-Egyptian dual citizen Aya Hegazy, who has been in pre-trial detention in Egypt for more than two years for running a local NGO for street children [click HERE for the Egyptian view of the case]. The White House demanded the release of Hegazy as well in a Friday statement which was later criticised by Egypt.
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