Cablegate: Egypt: 2007 Country Report On Terrorism


DE RUEHEG #3515 3511448
O 171448Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 146856


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 2007 and exchanged information on a variety of
terrorism, security, and law enforcement matters during
the course of the year. In 2007, the U.S. hosted
the third session of the US-Egypt Counter-Terrorism Joint
Working Group, and the next meeting of the group will
likely be held in 2008 in Cairo.

2. There were no successful terrorist attacks in Egypt in
2007 due mainly to the vigilance and effectiveness of
Egypt's security services.

3. During 2007, the imprisoned former leader of Egyptian
Islamic Jihad, Sayid Imam al-Sharif, issued a detailed
"revision" of his previous ideology of violent jihad.
His revised approach to jihad does not amount to a
rejection of the concept, but an attempt to establish
"rules of engagement" for conducting jihad, while also
offering 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 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 recent
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 four 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. The government
of Egypt also keeps up open, regular lines of communication
with U.S. Embassy officials concerning terrorist finance
information. 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., the
judicial system is cooperative in the framework of the
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. A formal mechanism exists
for the United States to request from Egypt evidence which
can be used in American courts.

7. Many of the Egyptian president's far-reaching powers in
the realm of counter-terrorism come from a decades-old
Emergency Law, which was renewed by Parliament for two years
in 2006. President Mubarak has pledged to lift the
Emergency Law by June 2008 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 is currently being
drafted by a governmental interagency committee and will
be considered by Egypt's Parliament in early 2008.

7. Embassy Point of Contact: Ed White at

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