By James Ray Owens
In a move that must have former diplomats scratching their heads in disbelief, Donald Trump is welcoming Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, Egypt’s most repressive leader, to the White House.
During his presidency, Barack Obama wouldn’t allow Sissi in Washington, much less meet with him at the White House. Trump on the other hand, calls Sissi “a fantastic guy.”
After staging a bloody coup and ousting Egypt’s democratically elected leaders in 2013, Sissi’s regime carried out an estimated 1,400 killings, and nearly another 1,000 Egyptian citizens went missing.
Sissi’s regime also arrested Aya Hijazi, an American Citizen, and has held her in prison for the past two years on false charges that she tried to set up a secret organization to destroy Egypt. The organization she was trying to set up, a non-profit non-governmental organization, known as a NGO, is a volunteer organization funded by donations an often part of an effort by the United Nations.
On May 1, 2014, Sissi’s security forces stormed the organization’s headquarters and arrested everyone there, including children. Hijazi, her husband and others were later charged with sexually abusing children and enlisting them to engage in anti-government protests to destroy his country.
Since the coup, Egypt has continued to receive $1.3 billion a year from the US for military aid.
Trump has made no suggestions he is trying to make a deal with Sissi to have the American girl released, or that he is concerned about the military aid going to Egypt’s undemocratic government.
It seems a president who likes to recite the slogan “American First,” would have some issues with Egypt’s dictator, rather than call him a “fantastic guy” in public.
Sissi, who has carried out a relentless campaign against US influence doesn’t mind taking US money, which is supposed to be used for fighting ISIS, another dictatorial group who is far more likely to want to destroy Egypt than a non-profit organization run by an American. But, like Trump, Sissi is obviously overly suspicious and thin skinned, so his circle of trust tends to be very small.
In the meantime, a wait and see attitude will have to be taken until the outcome of the meeting between Egypt’s blood thirsty dictator and America’s democratically elected dictator takes place. If Trump’s meeting is not about human rights or military aid in Egypt, then perhaps he will be taking lessons from Sissi on how to control unruly protesters, or perhaps, an uncooperative Congress.