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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs