|al-Sisi leads Egypt with new vigor|
Egypt's Ambitious Anti-Terror Campaign - Hamza Hendawi
Beyond fighting militants in its own Sinai Peninsula, Egypt is trying to organize an international coalition against the Islamic State in Libya and helping Saudi Arabia defend its borders. This nation of 90 million people seeks to restore the leadership role that has eluded it since its influence waned under former President Hosni Mubarak.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have given Egypt an estimated $30 billion to rescue its damaged economy, in return for Egypt providing military manpower alongside its Gulf counterparts. A contingent of Egyptian troops is already deployed on Saudi Arabia's border with Iraq to help defend it against jihadi fighters. Egypt also has military advisers on the Saudi-Yemeni border. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are bankrolling multibillion dollar arms purchases by Egypt, including jet fighters and naval vessels from France and Russia.
Egypt carried out two rounds of airstrikes in Libya, on top of secret strikes it conducted last year along with the UAE against Libyan Islamist militias. Egyptian troops briefly crossed the border into Libya to conduct search-and-destroy missions targeting possible surface-to-air missiles that could threaten Egyptian planes headed back from Libya.
How Egypt Sees Islamic State Threat - Jane Kinninmont
Unlike its Western allies, Egypt's leaders emphasize the view that all forms of political Islam are a threat to international security. Since overthrowing Morsi, they have banned the Muslim Brotherhood, calling it a terrorist organization.
By contrast, the U.S. and Europe differentiate between forms of political Islam that they can potentially work with, and more radical violent groups.
Islamic State's targeted violence has prompted cross-border military action by Arab armies. This is a marked contrast with al-Qaeda, which was targeted primarily by international forces or, within specific countries, by the domestic security services.
The writer is Deputy Head and Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Program, at Chatham House.
Dangerous Stalemate - Zvi Mazel
Egyptian President Sisi is fighting for his country's survival - and his own.
F-16 fighter planes and Apache helicopters have joined the campaign, security forces have killed or wounded hundreds of terrorists - but more keep coming.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis gunmen, who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, continue making daring raids against police stations and other security targets, leading to loss of life. Islamic State dispatches terrorists and weapons to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Sinai from Libya, where there is an unlimited supply of both.
The situation has reached a stalemate, though the army has managed to contain the terrorists in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. However, there are still sporadic terrorist attacks in Cairo and other parts of the country.
Egypt is going it alone, still waiting for the West to understand that Cairo remains its best ally against the rising tide of terrorism.
The writer is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt, and Sweden.