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Egypt's border with Libya, Sudan ripe for Islamic State expansion

Egypt’s border regions with Libya and Sudan lack government control, and are perfect ground for would-be jihadists to conduct smuggling and build up their strength.
Egyptian farmers harvest wheat in a village near Aswan April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih   (EGYPT AGRICULTURE SOCIETY) - RTXEF4U

As the United States gears up for its war on the Islamic State (IS), US Secretary of State John Kerry is flying all over the Middle East to form an international coalition of regional powers to join the war. His efforts have been met with nothing more than lip service for many reasons, but primarily the lack of credibility the United States has in the Middle East under President Barack Obama’s leadership, especially in Egypt. The Egyptian government’s official position is “backing the coalition” but “not joining” it, preferring to “fight its own battle against this common enemy.”

Egypt may be interested in fighting its own battles, or at least not opening up new international fronts that would stretch its armed forces when it needs them here, but the reality is that the frontline against IS is everywhere. The ingenious use of social media by IS has a reach and purpose far greater than simply asking Islamic-minded people to emigrate there; it aims to radicalize locals in other countries to start fighting their un-Islamic governments as well. There are many roads to having other countries join the caliphate, and it’s not only through expanding in the territories around IS' geographical borders, as we are seeing in Libya.

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