President Barack Obama has declined to back Egypt’s military assault against the terrorist group Islamic State, sometimes called ISIS, which could indicate a growing rift between the U.S. and Egypt.
Officials from the U.S. government, including White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, passed on questions about Egypt’s campaign against Islamic State. But one U.S. official told The Daily Beast that they are "neither condemning nor condoning" the Egyptian strikes.
“The Egyptian military, in particular, is very frustrated with us,” a U.S. government official said. “It is mutual frustration.”
Islamic State is within Egypt’s borders, but the country refused to join a coalition to confront the group last summer. Instead, Egypt requested more weapons from the U.S. to fight ISIS. Due to the political instability in Egypt, the U.S. has been hesitant to meet that request, despite Islamic State’s rapid expansion throughout the Middle East.
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Following Egypt’s airstrikes against the Islamic State-dominated city of Derna, Libya, on Feb. 16, the U.S. called for a political solution in Libya, indicating a distinct policy rift between the U.S. and Egypt.
Despite these differences, it’s not surprising Egypt took unilateral action against Islamic State. Recently, the terrorist group released a video of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians being beheaded in Libya.