CAIRO: A report issued by the U.S. Department on State on April 30 that details the state of terrorism around the world says that Egypt’s current struggle against terrorism related activities in the Sinai and other parts of the country is being met with some success.
“During 2013, Egypt witnessed an increase in terrorism and violent extremism following the July 3 removal of the elected government,” says the report. “Although the majority of attacks were concentrated in northern Sinai, some significant incidents occurred in the eastern Nile Delta between Cairo and the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.”
The report also states that while security forces struggled early on to deal with the increase in violent attacks, their success rate is improving. The report further explains that the increase in attacks has largely targeted security forces and government entities and not citizens, albeit several attacks on public buses in December 2013.
The U.S. report acknowledges that Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in 2013, however, some experts believe that U.S. acknowledgement of an increase in terrorism in post-Morsi Egypt hints that the country believes the Muslim Brotherhood is involved.
Head of Nadeem Center for Human Rights Fahmy Nadeem said the report comes to reflect U.S. recognition of the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in terrorism.
In a Tuesday press statement, Naadeem said the report identifies U.S.-Egyptian cooperation in eliminating terrorism, and such cooperation is a signal that the United States would suspend any lingering support for the Brotherhood.
Although the report does identify an increase in terrorism, it also states that the Egyptian government has initiated a crackdown on the Brotherhood and other anti-government groups. It also states that while the Egyptian government labeled the Brotherhood a terrorist organization on Dec. 25 it has given no evidence to support such a decision.
Gamal Zahran, a professor of International Relations, said that the report reflects the hostile approach adopted by the U.S. towards the Egyptian government, adding that the U.S. administration insists on dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood as an opposition movement and not as a terrorist group.
Zahran added in a statement to The Cairo Post that the United States will not abandon its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, stressing that the report does not reflect any change in U.S. policy towards Egypt. He added that the Egyptian government should continue to achieve democracy regardless of the U.S. position.
The report also underlines the role performed by the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program in 2013, saying, “ATA training and equipment deliveries for Egypt were shaped to try to meet objectives and needs specific to Egypt amid the country’s evolving political landscape.”
Ambassador Rakha Ahmed Hassan, former assistant Foreign Minister, welcomed the report, saying that it reflects the intentions of the U.S. administration to restore its relations with Egypt. He said, “The U.S. turned to correct its mistakes when it supported the roadmap. It issued this report to express its keenness to restore its relations with Egypt.”
Regarding the recent visit of Nabil Fahmy to Washington, D.C., Hassan praised diplomatic efforts that aim to prove Egypt’s commitment to democracy, describing the visit as successful.
He refused to acknowledge comments that claim the report reflects a double-standard approach adopted by the United States, such as statement by the U.S. that say the recent series of mass death sentences smear Egypt’s reputation before the world.
The death sentences issued by Minya Criminal Court overshadowed the visit of Egypt’s top diplomat to Washington, D.C. The U.S Secretary of State expressed deep concern over the verdicts, saying, “there had been disturbing decisions within the judicial process and the court system as whole.”
Political expert Adel Soliman, head of International Center for Strategic Studies, said that the U.S. position was made clear during a recent press conference conducted between U.S Secretary of State John Kerry and his Egyptian counterpart.