London – News that Egypt and the European Union are planning a bid to co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) exposes the moral and political bankruptcy of the global ‘counter-terrorism’ industry. If the destructive policies of the GCTF were not enough proof, the fact that two countries (Egypt and the EU currently lead by France) with well documented track records for abysmal treatment of minorities and political dissidents are seeking leadership positions illustrates the shocking state of affairs of the outfit.

Having previously co-chaired one of the GCTF’s working groups together, a leadership role in the organisation would serve to launder and legitimise the reputations of the Egyptian and French governments – currently serving the EU Council Presidency – both of which have inflicted draconian and brutal operations on their populations in the name of ‘countering terrorism’.[1]

The GCTF co-chairs will be decided by the organisation’s members at a meeting in March, with the successful candidates beginning their term in September.

The Egyptian government under General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been conducting a violent crackdown on political dissent for nearly a decade – including under the guise of ‘countering terrorism’ – with the tacit approval of Western governments.

This includes the incarceration of at least 60,000 political prisoners, 5,000 enforced disappearances and the use of systematic torture, as well as the 2013 Rabaa Al-Adawiya massacre, which resulted in the deaths of almost a thousand peaceful protestors under the pretence of preserving national security.[2]

Meanwhile under the Presidency of Emmanuel Macron, the French state has prosecuted a systematic persecution of Muslims in France, including through a spate of repressive laws such as the ‘Anti Separatism Law’ and the dissolution of Muslim organisations by decree under the so-called ‘Systematic Obstruction’ policy.[3]

President Macron has also made his international ambitions clear, by attempting to secure France a leadership role within the European Union, as well as seeking to export his securitised approach towards Muslims to fellow EU states.[4]

France has established deep political ties with the Sisi dictatorship since the coup, providing billions of dollars’ worth of military weaponry and directly colluding with Egyptian forces in military operations that resulted in the killing of innocent civilians.[5]

Having been bound together by brutality, President Macron awarded Sisi the highest French decoration – the Légion d’Honneur – in December 2020.[6]

Muhammad Rabbani, CAGE Managing Director said:

“Both Egypt and France – the current EU Presidency – have carried out systematic and brutal repression of their Muslim populations, with the willing acquiescence of governments in the West.”

“For them to be subsequently rewarded with any international leadership role would amount to a betrayal of those living under the reign of fear of both General Sisi and President Macron – and it would only further demonstrate the dark heart of the ‘global counter-terrorism’ industry.”

“If successful, this bid would be yet another award to whitewash both Sisi and Macron’s reputation. Right-minded people across Europe should vigorously oppose this collaboration”


Editor’s notes: 

CAGE is a UK based, independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the “War on Terror”. The organisation highlights and campaigns against repressive state policies, developed as part of increasing securitisation. In doing so, we strive for a world free from oppression and injustice.


[2] See FIDH report “Egypt, a Repression made in France”, Egyptian Commission for Human Rights 2020 report and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies :



[5] See FIDH report below and Disclose investigation on Operation Sirli :


Image courtesy of Unsplash/guillaumeperigois 

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