CAIRO - 15 June 2020: On June 8, 2014, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi took power in Egypt, amid unprecedented security conditions and challenges. These challenges have included the most serious acts of violence and terrorism since the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood following the June 30, 2013, revolution.
The Egyptian state succeeded over the course of 7 years, under the leadership of President Sisi, ito defeat takfiri and terrorist groups, both in Sinai and throughout the country, by setting an integrated strategy to combat terrorism.
The Egyptian security services gave massive blows to the terrorist elements that were threatening the national security. It also thwarted many terrorist operations and was capable to track down dangerous elements thanks to the vigilance of the security services.
Egypt was able to reduce the pace of operations to unprecedented rates compared to 2014, which witnessed an escalation in the pace of terrorist operations in response to the fall of the terrorist Brotherhood. The state also succeeded in tracking down funding sources and forming committees to combat the financing of terrorism.
From the beginning of his rule until now, President Sisi has sought to stabilize the pillars of the Egyptian state and restore its national institutions.
Observers say that "Egypt's victory in the fight against terrorism has become a role model in combating extremist organizations, and at the same time implementing the required development process, which has come to be called the Egyptian experience in combating terrorism."
The ingenuity of security devices
Tarek Fahmy, a professor of political science at Cairo University, said that "Egypt has succeeded with great skill during the past 7 years to confront terrorism through a proactive strategy implemented by the security services and armed forces, whether in Sinai or the rest of the country as a whole."
Fahmy stressed,"The level of terrorism had decreased significantly as a result of the massive efforts and strategies of the armed forces and security services."
The security situation and the current political stability in the country are based on two things. First, the skill and ingenuity of the security services in dealing with various threats, and second, the security’s success in penetrating terrorist organizations and their elements.
He pointed out that President Sisi, in many occasions and international forums, launched important initiatives to confront and besiege terrorism, whether in the United Nations General Assembly or anti-terror conferences.
An integrated strategy to combat terrorism
For his part, Member of Parliament Nafeh Abdel-Hadi said in a statement that after 7 years of President Sisi’s rule, we find that the modern Egyptian state has succeeded in defeating takfiris, extremists, and terrorist groups in Sinai and elsewhere.
He continued, "This massive success in defeating terrorism is based on the strategic leadership of President Sisi, stressing that combating terrorist organizations remains an absolute priority on the Egyptian leadership's agenda, and it achieved great success in that."
Sisi's initiatives and efforts
Since the beginning of his tenure, Sisi has put forward several initiatives to confront terrorism and combat extremism.
Internally, in July 2014, President Sisi put forward the initiative to correct religious discourse after the Brotherhood and extremist organizations tried during the years preceding the June 30 revolution to impose their control over the religious discourse in Egypt and direct it to promote extremist ideas.
The Egyptian president said during his speech at the Davos Economic Forum in January 2015, that he wants to purify the religious discourse of misconceptions that led to extremism and terrorism, explaining he does not mean religious constants, but rather religious discourse that is influenced by man.
In October 2016, during the recommendations of the Youth Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Sisi directed the government, in cooperation with Al-Azhar, the Church, and all state agencies, to develop a plan that represents a strategy to lay sound foundations for correcting religious discourse within the framework of preserving the Egyptian identity in all its dimensions.
In July 2017, President Sisi issued a decision to establish the National Council to Confront Terrorism and Extremism, to mobilize institutional and societal efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and address its effects.
The council specialized in adopting a comprehensive national strategy to confront terrorism and extremism internally and externally, and to coordinate with religious institutions and security services to enable moderate religious discourse.
Supporting Arab and international efforts
Within the framework of Egypt's efforts to support Arab and international efforts to combat terrorism, the Arab League agreed, in March 2015, to President Sisi's idea of establishing a "joint Arab force" aimed at preserving and maintaining Arab national security and combating terrorism
In a televised speech, Sisi said, "The Egyptian army has no desire to invade or occupy other countries, but it will defend Egypt and the region if necessary and in coordination with our Arab brothers." President Sisi also spoke of activating the "joint Arab defense agreement" that has been in place for nearly 70 years.
In September 2014, Egypt participated in the "international coalition against ISIS", the formation of which was announced by the United States and included dozens of countries, but it did not send any forces abroad.
Furthermore, Egypt joined the "Islamic Military Counter-terrorism Coalition", which was announced by Saudi Arabia in December 2015, and presently includes 41 member states, working together to coordinate and intensify their efforts in the international war on extremism and terrorism to maintain international peace and security.
It is worth noting that President Sisi stressed during his participation in the Munich Security Conference in February 2019 that "instability and the phenomenon of terrorism affect world security if they are not dealt with in an integrated manner and with significant international cooperation."
Moreover, in February 2020, President Sisi, during his participation in the African summit, suggested that Egypt host an African summit dedicated to discussing the establishment of an African force to combat terrorism, based on Egypt's responsibilities towards the continent and its belief in the importance of this to achieve peace and security.
The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt and designated terrorist group. Morsi, who was member of the Supreme Guidance Bureau, had been president for one year before his regime got toppled over mass protests on July 3, 2013.
Out of vengeance, the group waged terror attacks – mainly bombings – that took place until 2017, and targeted churches, security directorates, and civilians on crowded streets. Its elements also assassinated late Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat in 2014.