Addressing the Arab Intelligence Forum inaugurated last week, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi urged Arab states to form an integrated regional counter-terrorism system, based on shared intelligence and exchange of experiences.

The purpose of the forum is to seek regional stability through an exchange of views and experiences on crucial challenges facing the Arab world, including organized crime, extremist ideology and terrorism. The participants in the forum consisted of numerous Arab delegations, regional intelligence chiefs and Ahmed Abul Gheit, the Secretary General of the Arab league.

Al-Sisi stressed the importance of collective Arab anti-terrorism collaboration in order to restore stability throughout the Middle East region. The Egyptian president emphasized special focus on countries in the region where terrorist organizations seek to expand, such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Without specifically naming the Iranian regime, Al-Sissi said that external forces support terrorist organizations throughout the region. The Egyptian leader concluded by urging Arab states to overcome differences and cooperate in the interest of the entire Middle East region. 

The head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel welcomed the participation of Arab intelligence chiefs and congratulated Al-Sisi for opening the forum’s new headquarter in Cairo. 

As the world’s politically most volatile region, the Middle East has been plagued by terrorism, wars and radical ideologies for decades. While most of the violence has been confined to the region, Islamic terrorism has been exported globally through extremist organizations such as Al-Qaida and ISIS. As a result, stability in the Middle East remains high on the international agenda. 

During his visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017, former U.S. President Donald Trump urged the Arab and the Muslim world to unite in the fight against radical Islam. 

“Terrorism has spread all across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land,” Trump told the leaders of the Muslim world, representing more than one billion people. By contrast, throughout his presidency, Trump’s predecessor President Barack Obama, refused to use the terms “Islamic extremism” and “radical Islam.” 

“They are not religious leaders – they’re terrorists….and we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam,” Obama stated in 2016.

While individuals who perpetrate terrorism in the name of Islam constitute only a tiny minority of the world’s Muslims, much of the terrorism was inspired and supported by radical Islamic imams. 

In recent years, the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia have emerged as the leaders of the pro-American Sunni Arab bloc opposing the Iranian regime’s and its terrorist proxies’ aggressive imperial policies throughout the region. At the same time, Egypt has been struggling with containing domestic Islamic terrorism fueled by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS-affiliated terrorist organizations. This is particularly true in the increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula bordering the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

As a result, Egypt and Israel have increased bilateral cooperation in combating ISIS-affiliated terrorists in Sinai threatening the Egyptian government, but also Israel. Following the recent Abraham Accords, Sunni Arab states and Israel have also increased their security cooperation against the pro-Iranian axis.

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