President Obama is currently weighing whether to send $1.3 billion in aid to the Egyptian government. The Egyptian military is currently in control, but the nation’s elections have put the Muslim Brotherhood on a course to take power. Egypt’s military, the direct recipient of the proposed American aid, would then probably find itself subordinate to a regime that will be hostile to the United States and to the West. The Muslim Brotherhood is anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Israel — it is the ideological fountainhead of terrorist groups like al Qaeda and Hizballah. Yet the administration said last week that its plan to send the aid will go forward, and that it will even waive standing American law to send that aid:
The Obama administration told Congress on Thursday it will waive democracy requirements to release up to $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt despite concerns that the country is backsliding on commitments it made to democratic governance and rule of law.
U.5 officials and lawmakers said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has determined that it was in the U.S. national interest to allow $1.3 billion in military assistance to flow. She also certified that Egypt is meeting its obligations to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, which frees up an additional $200 million in economic aid, they said.
A senior State Department official said the decisions “reflect our overarching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy.”
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because congressional notifications are not complete. Clinton will sign the waiver on Friday, the official said.
U.S. officials had said last week that Clinton was poised to grant the waiver because she could not certify that Egypt was in full compliance with the democracy requirements of law.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, who wrote the legislation imposing conditions on the aid, said he was “disspointed” by the decision.
“I know Secretary Clinton wants the democratic transition in Egypt to succeed, but by waiving the conditions we send a contradictory message. The Egyptian military should be defending fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, not harassing and arresting those who are working for democracy,” the Vermont Democrat said in a statement.
Congressional concern over the aid is bipartisan. It is not limited to Congress.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both wrote to Clinton asking her to hold Egypt to account.
Retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer appeared on America’s Radio News today with hosts Chris Salcedo and Lori Lundin to discuss the proposed aid. The decorated former US intelligence officer noted the many reasons Americans have to be concerned with the administration’s aid plan, and at the end of the interview, raises the prospect of impeaching the president for openly defying Congress:
03-28-12 TONY SHAFFER INTERVIEW by bryanp-2
SHAFFER: The hope is, the White House will back down on this. Legally, they are on very shaky ground on this.
SALCEDO: Well it’s a pretty high hurdle. Wouldn’t Congress have to unite to stop this from happening? An override of the president? Or is it that official — can they just send a letter to the president saying ‘We don’t think you should do this’?
SHAFFER: Well, they can cut off the money. They do have the power of the purse and we would like them to use it. That’s the thing that they may have to do here, is to say that within the law, if you do this, this is illegal. We have given you the money for X, if you use it for Y, you are now in violation. And frankly, I don’t want to say this is a soft issue, but this could be impeachable if he does something against Congress directly.
The administration does have some Republican cover — Sen. Lindsay Graham has said he supports the aid. But the issue is a very serious one, especially at a time when the American government has lost a staunch ally in Egypt, that country appears to be following the Islamic revolution path first blazed by the regime in Iran, and America faces a mounting and potentially catastrophic national debt.