I'm Michael Georgy, Special Middle East Correspondent for Reuters in Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates. This place one of the few areas in the Middle East that was not affected by Islamic State. But like the West, it has a vested interest in security in the region.
Now that they've been defeated in Mosul and in Syria, the big question is, where will they go next, what is their strategy? The biggest risk is Egypt. Now, a branch of the Islamic State has been fighting the Egyptian military, which is the biggest military in the Middle East, for years.
It's been a stalemate, the military has not been able to defeat them. And ISIS has spread to other parts of Egypt, with bombings against Christians, assassinations, and a former ISIS leader has taken over a new group. So the Egyptians face multiple challenges. And Egypt is the big question, it's the most important US ally in the region, billions of dollars invested in the military.
President Sisi of Egypt has staked his future on the ability to stabilize the country, the most populous Arab nation. That hasn't happened. So the West and Arab states will be looking at Egypt to see whether Islamic state can create more damage. There are still risks, despite military victories, which took years.
One is the Sectarian issue, if Islamic state persuades Sunnis that they are been sidelined by shared led government Iraq, they'll have an opportunity to come back just the same way they did after ISIS were defeated. You have Libya, which is chaotic after Kadhafi, there's all types of militant groups, it's a porous border with Egypt.
And the biggest catastrophe would be if lots of weapons and militants went over the border into the Sinai and other places, and joined other militant groups against the Egyptian government. So those are the main issues in the Middle East in 2018.