Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the general who ousted an elected president and is set to become Egypt’s next head of state, called on the United States to help fight terrorism to avoid the creation of new Afghanistans in the Middle East.
In his first interview with an international news organization in the run-up to the May 26-27 vote, Sisi called for the resumption of US military aid, worth $1.3 billion a year, which was partially frozen after a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Asked what message he has for US President Barack Obama, Sisi said: “We are fighting a war against terrorism.”
“The Egyptian army is undertaking major operations in the Sinai so it is not transformed into a base for terrorism that will threaten its neighbors and make Egypt unstable. If Egypt is unstable then the entire region is unstable,” said a quietly spoken Sisi, wearing a dark civilian suit.
“We need American support to fight terrorism, we need American equipment to use to combat terrorism.”
It is possible, that Egypts actions in the last few years do not make it the most strident partner in this battle:
“The army could not have abandoned its people or there would have been a civil war and we don’t know where that would have taken us. We understand the American position. We hope that they understand ours.”
The Brotherhood was banned as a terrorist organization in December. Former president Mohamed Mursi, ousted in July after mass protests, is facing capital charges, while the group’s spiritual guide, Mohamed Badie, has been sentenced to death along with hundreds of supporters among the Brothers.