US government officials have rejected the idea that the Egyptian president could use his effective influence in negotiations with Hamas to allay human rights concerns.
According to the Los Angeles Times, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken contacted Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, an Egyptian military man and president whom Donald Trump once described as his “beloved dictator”, to ask for his help. Thank you for stopping the conflict between Hamas and the Zionist regime.
This was an upsetting situation for Blinken. He has repeatedly said that human rights are at the heart of Joe Biden’s foreign policy, and that human rights are not something that Sisi approves. Activists say he has imprisoned and tortured dissidents, journalists and others, and has been repeatedly accused of ordering deadly firing on peaceful protesters.
But Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, like other Egyptian leaders before him, helped stop the violence between the Zionist regime and Palestinian groups. So Blinken went to Cairo to thank him personally, which Sisi tried to use to infiltrate Washington and escape criticism. Biden pledged during the campaign that there would be no signed white checks for Sisi, but Egypt has long made the most of Israel’s acceptance, in which US officials tend to ignore it when it comes to abuses.
“Egypt played an important role in establishing the ceasefire,” Blinken later said of his talks with Sisi. He stressed that he had discussed human rights issues with the Egyptian leader. “We had a detailed conversation with President Sisi, and this reflects that this issue is still on the agenda with Egypt,” Blinken said.
Prior to the meeting late last month, there had been reports of diplomacy quoting diplomats as saying that Sisi wanted to release a number of imprisoned American citizens in good faith. But that did not happen.
Sisi, 66, a former Egyptian defense minister and military intelligence chief, emerged as a figure in the July 2013 coup against the ousted government of Mohamed Morsi and eventually won the 2014 presidential election.
In a detailed report, Human Rights Watch blamed Sisi in part for the massacre of hundreds of government critics, especially many members of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July and August 2013.
Egypt has held a special place in US foreign policy and Middle East geopolitics for decades. With successive administrations in the United States, Washington has backed a range of powerful Egyptians, from Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak to al-Sisi. Until last year, Egypt, along with Jordan, was one of only two Arab countries to recognize Israel. This vital role has led Washington to ignore many of the abuses of the Cairo governments.
Experts say that Sisi, after four years of freedom of action under Trump, now has no confidence in the Biden administration. “Al-Sisi hopes that his ability to influence Hamas will help keep Washington backing him,” said Nimrod Novik, an Israeli foreign policy analyst who worked for Shimon Peres and has close ties to Egyptian intelligence officials. He is concerned about the dual phenomenon, the Biden administration and the Democratic Congress of America.
US government officials have rejected the idea that the Egyptian president could use his effective influence in negotiations with Hamas to allay human rights concerns. They say they can address these issues by breaking it down into smaller sections.