Americans aren’t safe in Egypt, but that’s no reason we shouldn’t shovel money their way, right?
Wait one. Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, has put her foot down and blocked $450 million in aid to the Egyptian government.
“This proposal comes to Congress at a point when the US-Egypt relationship has never been under more scrutiny, and rightly so,” the chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, said in a statement. “I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time. … I have placed a hold on these funds.”
The relationship between the United States and Egypt has been rocky since the overthrow of US ally President Hosni Mubarak last year. The Egyptian government angered Washington when it cracked down on numerous democracy advocates and groups, including three US-funded nongovernmental organizations, earlier this year.
More recently, demonstrators breached the US Embassy in Cairo to protest an anti-Islam video, and some in Congress have called for cutting off aid. The United States provides Egypt with $1.55 billion annually — $250 million in economic aid and $1.3 billion in military aid.
The question that should concern Congress is does economic and military aid help keep the peace between Israel and Egypt? One might normally see the Egyptian military as a restraining influence on the Muslim Brotherhood government headed up by Mohammad Morsi. But Morsi has purged the Egyptian army of most of the pro-Western, anti-Islamist officers, leaving the US with a critical decision; do we continue to back a regime that has as it’s number one foreign policy goal the destruction of Israel?
PJ Media columnist David Goldman (AKA Spengler) “Egypt is an Adversary, Not a Neutral”:
The Obama administration has presided over a collapse of a system of alliances which sustained America’s position in the region for sixty years. And if you want to know what’s happening, ignore the self-consoling spin in the mainstream media, and listen to what our adversaries are saying. They have the ball.
The $450 million was intended to bail out the Egyptian economy, which, as Goldman points out, is a basket case. Is this wise? Would it be better for the Egyptian economy to collapse with the blame placed on the Muslim Brotherhood government?
This strategy would presuppose that the Brotherhood would allow free elections where there was a possibility that they would be voted out. Even if you believe that, we might get something worse. The Salafis are the second largest party in Egypt and have clashed with the Muslim Brotherhood on the issue of how fast to remake Egypt by implementing full Sharia law.
The block placed on the economic aid by Rep. Granger is probably temporary. The State Department is already negotiating with Congress to have the funds released. But last December, Congress made aid to Egypt conditional on whether the government “is supporting the transition to civilian government including holding free and fair elections; implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion and due process of law.”
Egypt may have a civilian government, but it certainly not implementing policies “to protect freedom of expression, association and religion and due process of law.” On that basis alone, Congress can and should deny Egypt the cash, even though it’s already been appropriated. Recent events demand that before any aid from the US is forthcoming, Egypt show by its actions that it is a partner for peace and not a deadly threat to Israel and US interests in the region.