The Skeptics

It's Time to End U.S. Aid to Egypt

In recent weeks, a flood of graphic videos and images have surfaced showing Egypt’s military police brutally clubbing protesters. Some footage shows demonstrators lying motionless on the ground as they are savagely beaten.

“Recent events in Egypt have been particularly shocking,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week. But perhaps more “shocking” than these recent events is the foreign largesse sustaining it. For FY2012, the Obama administration requested $1.551 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt. That should be scrapped.

Administration planners praised Egypt’s armed forces for exercising restraint last spring. But ever since, the military caretaker government has shown itself to be anything but restrained. General Abdel Moneim Kato, a military adviser in the Orwellian-sounding Morale Affairs Department, said protesters “deserve to be thrown into Hitler’s ovens.” Reminiscent of former President Hosni Mubarak’s twenty-nine-year tyranny, military tribunals have sentenced political activists to prison for insulting the military, violating the national curfew and defying a ban on demonstrations. Since October, nearly one hundred people have been killed in clashes between heavily armed government forces and rock- and firebomb-throwing protesters. Promilitary fliers distributed in taxis blame the United States, Israel and other forces for causing the chaos. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, in response to Clinton’s criticism of the mistreatment of protesters, said, “Egypt does not accept any interference in its internal affairs.”

Washington’s servile client state now bites the hand that feeds. After all, despite provisos affixed to U.S. aid, powerful forces in Cairo seem comfortable in the knowledge that their gravy train won’t be stopping anytime soon. According to a report published last month by the Congressional Research Service, in September the Senate Committee on Appropriations attached conditions to the $1.551 billion in U.S. assistance. Those conditions stress that no U.S. funds may be provided to Egypt unless:

the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and that that the Government of Egypt has held free and fair elections and is implementing policies to protect the rights of journalists, due process, and freedoms of expression and association.

Overwhelming evidence shows that Egypt has notmet any of the aforementioned obligations. But rather than end the U.S. government’s generous assistance to that country’s dictatorless tyranny, last week President Barack Obama signed an executive order setting up a “National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.” As part of broader “peacemaking efforts around the world,” it plans to “accelerate, institutionalize, and better coordinate” U.S. government efforts to “advance women’s inclusion in peace negotiations, peacebuilding activities, and conflict prevention.”

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