Vice President Pence Visits Egypt, Jordan and Israel
From January 20-22, Vice President Mike Pence met with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Israel in his first official trip to the Middle East. One of the key points of discussion was the issue of terrorism. "Radical Islamic terrorism knows no borders — targeting America, Israel, nations across the Middle East, and the wider world," Pence said to the Israeli parliament. "It respects no creed — stealing the lives of Jews, Christians, and especially Muslims. And radical Islamic terrorism understands no reality other than brute force." The following are remarks from the vice president's trip.
"We are united not just in commerce and in prosperity, but most importantly, in a commitment to security. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in Egypt in the fight against terrorism. Our hearts grieve as Americans for the loss of life to terrorist attacks that have taken place against the Coptic Christian community here in the last year, and, of course, the horrific attack on a mosque this last November that claimed the lives of more than 300 innocent men, women, and children.
We resolve to continue to stand with Egypt in the battle against terrorism. And, Mr. President, we’re grateful for your leadership in that cause."
— Jan. 20, 2018, remarks before an expanded bilateral meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi
"We spoke most significantly about our efforts to combat terrorism. Egypt has been beset by terrorist attacks over the last year that have been brought to places of worship, from Coptic Christian churches to, last November, more than 300 people were killed in an attack on a mosque in the midst of worship.
The United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Egypt in their fight against terrorism in this country, and we will continue to collaborate with Egypt in taking the fight to terrorists across the region. We’ve made extraordinary progress in the fight against ISIS over the last year. Our military, our coalition forces, working closely with Iraq, have literally driven ISIS out of Iraq. We have overtaken the so-called capital of their caliphate in Raqqa, and we’re continuing to lead and lean into that fight.
And the deep discussions today with President Al Sisi about how we might continue together to work with Egypt and other allies across the region to confront and to defeat Islamic terrorism across this region and across the world were productive and meaningful."
"I’m truly honored to be able to be here in Egypt meeting with President Al Sisi, to meet with King Abdullah in Jordan tomorrow — two leaders in the Arab world — and then to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu when we arrive in Israel.
And my message to each of them is that we are partners, we are strategic partners; that nothing has changed; and that we are absolutely committed to building a partnership for security, confronting terrorism together, but also finding ways that we can advance the peace process."
— Jan. 20, 2018, remarks to the press before departing Cairo
"I’m also here to express our great admiration for your leadership and the courage of the Jordanian military in the fight against terrorism. Together with the American military and the Iraqi military, and our coalition partners, we’ve made dramatic progress in the battle against ISIS, driving ISIS out of Iraq, driving ISIS out of the capital of their so-called caliphate of Raqqa. And you can be assured that we will continue to work closely with you as we drive ISIS out of existence together.
Let me also say that, as the United States made clear in recent days, we remain committed to Syria, to a presence in Syria, not only to defeat ISIS, but to restrain the malign influence of Iran and other efforts in the region that would add to further destabilization. We look forward to working with you, Your Majesty, on the U.N.-led political process to free that country of the Assad regime and give Syria a new future and a fresh start toward peace and prosperity."
— Jan. 21, 2018, remarks before a working lunch with King Abdullah II of Jordan
"And under the leadership of this Commander-in-Chief, you’ve taken the fight to ISIS — on our terms, on their soil. And thanks to your courage and your relentless pursuit of victory, ISIS is on the run.
You’ve fought and flown alongside our coalition partners, striking ISIS again and again. You’ve given those terrorists no quarter. You’ve driven them from their strongholds. And thanks to your heroic actions, ISIS has been crushed; their so-called caliphate has fallen and crumbled. We’ve retaken the capital of that so-called caliphate. And you have liberated more than 90 percent of their territory and freed more than 7.5 million people from their terrorist grip. (Applause.)
And I will promise all of you that have done the work and are in the fight at this very hour: We will not rest, we will not relent, until we hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source, so it can no longer threaten our people, our allies, or our way of life. (Applause.)
As the President has said, we will be finished with ISIS very soon. And he’s ordered the Armed Forces of the United States to remain engaged in the fight against our terrorist enemies in Syria, in Iraq, and across the wider region. I believe, because of your valor, the day will come when ISIS, al Qaeda, and radical Islamic terrorism are no more than a distant memory. Their defeat will be a lasting monument to the unconquerable spirit of the Armed Forces of the United States.
And we will not waver in our resolve to confront the leading state sponsor of terrorism, the dictatorship in Iran. You know, Iran hopes to become the dominant power in the Middle East, by expanding its influence amidst the ruins of ISIS’s former territory. The ayatollahs in Tehran ultimately hope to threaten America’s allies across the wider region. But President Trump has put Iran on notice.
The United States of America will no longer tolerate Iran’s attempts to spread its malign influence or strengthen terrorists across this region. (Applause.) And as President Trump has made clear, the United States of America will never allow Iran to acquire a usable nuclear weapon. That is our promise to our allies and to the world. (Applause.)
The security of our nation and the safety of our people depends on the stability of the Middle East. And so, American power will continue to be the strong hand in this corner of the world. And you will be that strength."
— Jan. 21, 2018, speaking to U.S. troops in Jordan
Last year, in Saudi Arabia, President Trump addressed an unprecedented gathering of leaders from more than 50 nations at the Arab Islamic American Summit. He challenged the people of this region to work ever closer together, to recognize shared opportunities and to confront shared challenges. And the President urged all who call the Middle East their home to, in his words, “meet history’s great test — [and] conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism together.”
Radical Islamic terrorism knows no borders — targeting America, Israel, nations across the Middle East, and the wider world. It respects no creed — stealing the lives of Jews, Christians, and especially Muslims. And radical Islamic terrorism understands no reality other than brute force.
Together with our allies, we will continue to bring the full force of our might to drive radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth. I’m pleased to report that, thanks to the courage of our armed forces and our allies, at this very moment ISIS is on the run, their capital has fallen, their so-called caliphate has crumbled. And you can be assured we will not rest, we will not relent, until we hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source, so it can no longer threaten our people, our allies, or our very way of life.
Now, the United States and Israel have long stood together to confront the terrible evil of terrorism, and so we will continue. And across the Middle East, Arab leaders have responded, as well, to the President’s call with unprecedented action to root out radicalism and prove the emptiness of its apocalyptic promises.
As President Trump made clear in Saudi Arabia, we will continue to stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies. We will work with all of our partners to starve, in his words, “terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology.”
We will also support faith leaders in this region and across the world, as they teach their disciples to practice love, not hate. And we will help persecuted peoples, who have suffered so much at the hands of ISIS and other terrorist groups.
As we work to defeat the scourge of terrorism, and give aid to those who have suffered at its hands, we must also be resolved and vigilant to prevent old adversaries from gaining any new ground.
That dangerous regime sows chaos across the region. Last year alone, even as its citizens cried out for help with basic necessities, Iran devoted more than $4 billion to malign activities in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere across the region. It has supported terrorist groups that even now sit on Israel’s doorstep.
Beyond the nuclear deal, we will also no longer tolerate Iran’s support of terrorism, or its brutal attempts to suppress its own people.
— Jan. 22, 2018, speaking at a special session of the Knesset
"The Islamists" is a book and website on the origins, evolution, and positions of Islamist movements in the Middle East. The movements are redefining the order and borders in the world’s most volatile region. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals. Read more