Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will be the first Arab head of state to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House when the two shake hands Monday (April 3).
It was also El-Sisi who was first to call Trump with his congratulations following his victory at the polls last November.
The two are likely to share a similar goal in working towards a reboot of American-Egyptian ties following the “Big Chill” maintained by the Obama administration towards Egypt over the past seven years.
It also seems likely the Trump administration will agree to a request by Egypt to add its outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to the U.S. list of international terrorist organizations.
El-Sisi is also likely to make an effort to underscore the need to maintain the current level of foreign aid — economic and military — that Egypt receives from Washington, despite Trump’s declared intent to trim foreign aid back to a minimum.
The Cairo government has been forced to spend a huge amount on defense due to the unrelenting campaign to overthrow his government by radical Islamist terrorists such as the Islamic State (Da’esh / ISIS / Sinai Province) terror group, and those promoting political Islam in Egypt.
The latter group has been carrying out an endless mini-rebellion under the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that spawned Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, and which is allied with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and to a certain extent, ISIS as well. ISIS has also developed a handshake with other groups in the Sinai Peninsula, although its primary alliance for strategic, economic and medical purposes is with Hamas.
Both Israel and Egypt have been working together to battle the terrorist forces in the Sinai Peninsula. That’s a relatively new and welcome reality that should encourage the Trump administration to support the Cairo government in its effort to maintain stability in the region.
A boost from Washington would go a long way towards giving El-Sisi extra validation at home and a stronger arm in the region at a time when he most needs it, and when it might be most useful for America’s Mideast allies (read: Jordan, Israel) as well.