Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi looks on as he delivers a speech in Cairo..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
On January 31, Egypt became the first Arab country to declare Hamas’s armed wing a terrorist organization. In so doing, Egypt aligned itself with America and the European Union, both of which have long deemed Hamas a terrorist group (the EU is currently appealing a December court ruling overturning its designation). Cairo is also fully engaged in the West’s battle against the Islamic State, though it’s focusing on the group’s Sinai-based affiliate, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. All this begs an obvious question: Why does Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi seem to be the West’s least favorite Arab leader?Granted, he’s an autocrat who brutally suppresses dissent, but so is every other Arab leader – and the West seems prepared to overlook their repression as long as it deems them sufficiently opposed to Islamist terror. Thus Western leaders flocked to Saudi King Abdullah’s funeral last month, though Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most repressive countries, where women are forbidden to drive and bloggers can be sentenced to 1,000 lashes. And Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is feted in every Western capital, though he’s now in the eleventh year of his four-year term and his security forces routinely arrest and intimidate journalists.