Today, I had the honor of participating in a two-hour meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
His Excellency addressed a group of Middle East experts at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Georgetown district of Washington, D.C. He made some introductory remarks and then took our questions for the next 90 minutes. Afterwards, rather than bolt to another meeting, he graciously spent another twenty minutes or so greeting each participating and chatting with us individually.
The conversation itself was held under what are known as “Chatham House Rules,” so I’m not permitted to quote what was said. But in the coming days, I’ll share my observations of President el-Sisi, his meeting with us, and his meetings with President Trump and senior administration officials and Congressional leaders.
For now let me just say that I was very encouraged by what I saw and heard.
First, as a novelist and a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, I found myself deeply humbled to be included in such a meeting. Indeed, as I quipped to one of my colleagues at the meeting, it’s quite something to meet the leader of Egypt on the eve of Passover and enjoy the experience. But I certainly did.
Second, as an Evangelical, I found it very helpful to hear directly from a world leader whose country has played — and will continue to play — such an enormously important role in Biblical and prophetic history. The Bible is clear, especially in passages like Isaiah 19, that God had a deep and abiding love for the people of Egypt, and a great plan for their future. Please join me in keeping President el-Sisi and his family and advisors — and the nation of Egypt — in your prayers at this critical time.
Likewise, please keep Jordan’s King Abdullah, Queen Rania, their four children and the people of Jordan in your prayers. His Majesty has been in town for the past several days and today held extensive meetings with President Trump. I watched their full Rose Garden press conference on line and found myself deeply encouraged by the obvious strengthening of U.S.-Jordanian relations.
It has, of course, been a dramatic week in the Middle East with one of the worst chemical weapons attacks in Syrian history. At least 69 people — and possibly 100 or more — are dead, including many children, and hundreds more were wounded by the unconscionable use of sarin gas by the Assad regime.
It is clear that the Assad regime will employ all manner of wickedness to stay in power. It is also clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs of Iran fully support and enable such evil as they try desperately to keep their ally Assad in power.
The Trump administration needs to formulate its policy quickly and take bold and decisive action to make sure no world leader thinks he can use weapons of mass destruction and America will do nothing.
President Trump has, of course, repeatedly made the case that he will fight and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. To his credit, he is working hard to revitalize badly strained U.S. alliances in the Middle East, even while committing more troops and resources into the field. Progress is being made, especially in Iraq, but much more must be done.
- On Monday, President Trump welcomed President el-Sisi to the White House for the first time, and held extensive discussions focused on rebuilding U.S.-Egyptian relations. (see video from the Oval Office — see transcript here)
- Today, as I mentioned, Mr. Trump welcomed King Abdullah, our most faithful Sunni Arab ally. The two men held several hours of strategic meetings, and conducted a Rose Garden press conference (see video here — see transcript here).
- President Trump warmly thanked both leaders for their alliance with the U.S. He thanked them for their active and bold leadership in fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups, and for their determination to help the Israelis and Palestinians try to find peace.
- I’ll provide more analysis on all these developments and trends in the days ahead.
This article originally appeared on Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog, April 6, 2017, and reposted with permission.