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Cablegate: Egypt: 2008 Country Report On Terrorism

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #2541 3561123
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211123Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1190
INFO RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS CAIRO 002541

SIPDIS

S/CT FOR SHORE; NCTC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT: 2008 COUNTRY REPORT ON TERRORISM

REF: SECSTATE 120019

1. Egypt is an ally in the Global War on Terrorism. The
Egyptian and U.S. governments maintained a robust dialogue
on a broad range of counter-terrorism and law enforcement
issues in 2008 and exchanged information on a variety of
terrorism, security, and law enforcement matters during
the course of the year. In 2008, Egypt hosted
the fourth annual session of the U.S.-Egypt Counter-
Terrorism Joint Working Group, and the next meeting of
the group will likely be held in 2009 in Washington.

2. There were no successful terrorist attacks in Egypt in
2008, due mainly to the vigilance and effectiveness of
Egypt's security services.

3. During 2008, the imprisoned former leader of Egyptian
Islamic Jihad, Sayid Imam al-Sharif, issued a sequel to his
2007 critique of violent jihad. His critique, while
not a rejection of the concept of violent jihad, attempts
to establish "rules of engagement" and also
suggests non-violent alternatives.

4. The Egyptian government's active opposition to Islamist
terrorism, and effective intelligence and security services,
makes Egypt an unattractive locale for terror groups.
There is no evidence of active foreign terrorist groups in
the country. However, Egypt's northern Sinai region is a
base for the smuggling of arms and explosives into Gaza,
and a transit point for Gazan Palestinians. Palestinian
officials from Hamas have also carried large amounts of
cash across the border. The smuggling of humans, weapons,
and other contraband through the Sinai into Israel and the
Gaza Strip has created criminal networks that may be
associated with terror groups in the region. The apparent
radicalization of some Sinai Bedouin may possibly be linked
in part to these smuggling networks and Egyptian efforts to
dismantle them.

5. In the past six years, Egypt has tightened its terror
finance regulations in keeping with relevant UN Security
Council Resolutions. Egypt passed strong anti-money
laundering legislation in 2002, established a financial
intelligence unit in 2003, and ratified the latest UN
Convention to Combat Terror Finance in 2005. In 2008,
Egypt strengthened its anti-money laundering legislation
by specifically adding terrorism financing to the list of
punishable crimes. The Government of Egypt also maintains
open lines of communication with U.S. Embassy
officials concerning terrorist finance information. Egypt
regularly informs its own financial institutions of any
individuals or entities which are designated by any of the
UN sanctions committees. In 2008, a team from the UN
Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directorate visited
Egypt to review efforts to implement UN counterterrorism
resolutions.

6. Egypt maintained its strengthened airport security
measures and security for the Suez Canal, and continued to
institute more stringent port security measures.

6. The Egyptian judicial system does not allow plea
bargaining, and terrorists have historically been prosecuted
to the full extent of the law. Terrorism defendants may be
tried in military tribunals or emergency courts. In terms of
evidence for counter-terrorism cases in the U.S., Egypt's
judicial system is cooperative within the framework of the
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). (Note: The MLAT is
a formal mechanism for the United States to request from
Egypt evidence for use in U.S. courts. End note.)

7. Many of the Egyptian president's far-reaching powers in
the realmof counter-terrorism come from Egypt's
EmergencyLaw, which has been in force since 1981, and
wasrenewed by Parliament for two years
in June 2008. President Mubarak has pledged to lift the
Emergency Law and has called for new anti-terrorism
legislation to replace the Emergency Law, noting that Egypt
should follow the example of other countries that have
recently passed comprehensive laws to combat terrorism.
Such legislation reportedly has been drafted but not
submitted to or approved by Egypt's Parliament.

8. Embassy Point of Contact: Ed White at
whiteea@state.gov.
SCOBEY

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