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Pentagon pushes Egypt to fight counterinsurgency campaign in Sinai

The Pentagon used a visit by Egypt’s defense minister to push the US ally into a counterinsurgency-style approach to the fight against terror groups in the Sinai desert.
Military forces are seen in North Sinai, Egypt, December 1, 2017. Picture taken December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RC158CDC6DE0

In his first meeting with a Middle East nation since his confirmation as defense secretary, Mark Esper pressed his Egyptian counterpart this week to wage a counterinsurgency-style fight in the Sinai Peninsula.

“During his visit, I spoke to [Defense] Minister [Mohammad] Zaki extensively about their efforts in Sinai and it’s clear we share the importance of a population-centric approach, even if it takes longer to be successful,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Mick Mulroy said in a statement provided exclusively to Al-Monitor.

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