News / Middle East

    Egypt Criticizes US Decision to Halt Aid

    FILE - Egyptian army soldiers take their positions on top and next to their armored vehicles to guard an entrance of Tahrir Square, in Cairo. Obama administration is poised to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Eg
    FILE - Egyptian army soldiers take their positions on top and next to their armored vehicles to guard an entrance of Tahrir Square, in Cairo. Obama administration is poised to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Eg
    Reuters
    Egypt on Thursday criticized the U.S. decision to halt some aid to the army-backed government following a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that has plunged the country into a violent political crisis.
     
    Washington faces a dilemma in dealing with a major regional ally that controls the strategic Suez Canal and borders Israel but whose army overthrew the first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, after mass protests against his rule.
     
    It said on Wednesday it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles as well as $260 million in cash aid but left some other aid programs intact.
     
    U.S. Foreign Assistance to EgyptU.S. Foreign Assistance to Egypt
    x
    U.S. Foreign Assistance to Egypt
    U.S. Foreign Assistance to Egypt
    The U.S. position highlights the dilemma and also exposes differences with key Gulf ally Saudi Arabia, which had welcomed Morsi's removal and has lavished extensive financial support to the new government.
     
    It also raises the question of where Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, could now turn for more military aid.
     
    “The decision was wrong. Egypt will not surrender to American pressure and is continuing its path towards democracy as set by the roadmap,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told a private Egyptian radio station Radio FM.
     
    Abdelatty later said in a statement the decision “posed serious questions around the United States' readiness to provide stable strategic support for Egypt's security programs”.
     
    The decision was made pending progress on democracy and human rights but the State Department said it would continue military support for counter terrorism, counter-proliferation and security in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders U.S. ally Israel. It will also continue to provide funding in areas such as education, health and private sector development.
     
    The private, anti-Islamist leaning Tahrir newspaper was even bolder in its criticism, with a headline proclaiming, “Let the American aid go to hell”.
     
    Crackdown
     
    The army ousted Morsi in July, installed an interim government and presented a political “roadmap” it promised would lead to fair elections.
     
    The Brotherhood refuses to work with the military, which it says staged a coup and sabotaged Egypt's democratic gains after a revolt toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
     
    Egypt's security forces have cracked down hard on the Brotherhood since Morsi's overthrow, crushing two pro-Morsi protest camps, killing hundreds, and then arresting scores from the group, including much of the senior leadership.
     
    Morsi himself has been held in a secret location since his ouster. He is due to face trial on Nov. 4 on charges of inciting violence, in a move that is likely to further inflame tensions between the army and the Brotherhood.
     
    The army-backed government also declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew. A court order has banned the Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest and most influential Islamist group, that dominated national elections since Mubarak's overthrow.
     
    Widening violence
     
    The U.S. decision demonstrated its unhappiness with Egypt's path since Morsi was ousted.
     
    In the latest violence, pro-Morsi supporters clashed with security forces and political opponents on Sunday, with state media reporting 57 people dead.
     
    Raising the specter of more bloodshed, the political wing of the now-banned Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party, called for a “million-man march” on Friday to head towards Tahrir, cradle of the demonstrations that overthrew Mubarak.
     
    Besides the political crisis that has decimated tourism and investment in the most populous Arab state, Egypt is witnessing a wave of Islamist militant attacks against security forces that has occasionally spilled over beyond the Sinai region.
     
    On Thursday, one police and three army conscripts were killed in a car bomb attack in the region, which is near Israel and the Gaza Strip, security sources said. Militants also claimed a failed assassination attack on the Egyptian interior minister last month.
     
    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to tell him about the decision, stressing the relationship's importance but underscored that Egypt must move towards democracy.
     
    The military denies it carried out a coup, saying it responded to the will of the people.
     
    Abdelatty, the foreign ministry spokesman, said Egypt was “keen on continuing good relations with the United States”.
     
    “[Egypt] will take decisions relating to internal affairs with complete independence, without external influences and will work on guaranteeing to secure its vital needs in a continued and orderly manner, especially with regards to national security,” he added.
     
    Egypt has for decades been among the largest recipients of U.S. military and economic aid because of its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, which agreed as a result of the pact to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula it seized from Egypt in 1967.
     
    The United States has long provided Egypt with about $1.55 billion in annual aid, including $1.3 billion for the military.

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.