Egypt’s al-Sisi Finds a Kindred Spirit In President Trump

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from TIME Magazine,

President Donald Trump and Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi sat down together at the White House in early April, and it’s as if Barack Obama and the Arab Spring never happened. These two champions of national pride agree that the challenge of killing terrorists should sideline questions of respect for human rights. In contrast to the awkward, complex choreography ahead of the visit by China’s Xi Jinping to Mar-a-Lago or the notably strained body language of the recent meeting with Germany’s Angela Merkel, Trump and al-Sisi looked like old pals. It helps that al-Sisi was the first world leader to congratulate Trump on his win in November.

The Trump presidency looks to be good news for the former general. Trump wants a reliable, like-minded ally in the Middle East, and al-Sisi fits the bill. Al-Sisi likes the fact that he finally has a U.S. President who sees things his way. Obama froze military aid to Egypt for 18 months in 2013 in response to the Egyptian government’s crackdown on dissent. Al-Sisi will be encouraged by Trump’s recent decision to sell F-16s to Bahrain without demands for democratic reform or respect for human rights. He hopes Egypt can expect the same treatment.

Egypt remains the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid, and at a time when Trump wants to reduce foreign assistance, al-Sisi hopes to keep the dollars flowing.

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