News / USA

US Lawmakers Question Wisdom of Withholding Aid to Egypt

US Lawmakers Question Wisdom of Withholding Military Aid to Egypti
X
October 30, 2013 4:27 AM
U.S. lawmakers say President Obama's decision to withhold some military assistance to Egypt may undermine U.S. security interests in the Middle East.

US Lawmakers Question Wisdom of Withholding Military Aid to Egypt

Some U.S. lawmakers think President Obama's decision to withhold some military assistance to Egypt, pending what the administration calls "credible progress" toward a democratically-elected government following a July coup, may undermine U.S. security interests in the Middle East.
 
With the violence in Egypt continuing, Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel and other lawmakers are questioning the timing of Washington's decision to hold back major weapons from a long-time ally.
 
"The region is falling apart. Syria is spiraling out of control. Iran looms as a significant threat. It just seems to me it's not very wise to risk alienating our traditional allies and friends," said Engel.
 
Withholding tanks and attack helicopters punishes a military that toppled an increasingly-authoritarian Muslim Brotherhood-led government, said Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
 
"We're hanging General [Abdel Fattah] al-Sissi and the people that we are applauding for defeating radical Islam in Egypt, we're leaving them hanging out to dry," said Rohrabacher.
 
Despite Rohrabacher’s comments, the administration has taken a more nuanced view of the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.  Since his overthrow, human rights groups have deplored the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters, mass arrests and other widespread abuses.  
 
The U.S. says the decision to hold back tanks, missiles, and attack helicopters does not affect its support for counter-terrorism efforts in the lawless Sinai peninsula, which borders Israel.
 
"They have considerable operational capability in the Sinai that they are using, and we are assisting them with sustaining those weapons systems that they do have which do overpower the extremists," said Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet.
 
Since Morsi's ouster, the Obama administration has been trying to reassure both pro-democracy activists and the military-led government that replaced him, says American University professor Akbar Ahmed.  Ahmed feels that trying to play to both groups weakens U.S. standing in Cairo.
 
“If Egypt has a vacuum of power, authority, finances, someone is going to fill that.  It's going to be either Russia, maybe China, or more immediately the Saudis," said Ahmed.
 
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have both moved to help fund Egypt's interim government.
 
Considering the levels of funding coming from the Gulf monarchies, Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch feels the U.S. must take action to maintain relevance.
 
"Given the vast resources that Gulf states have provided to the interim government, we must act in a way to preserve our influence.  Part of that is through assistance.  Part of that is continuing to advocate for democracy," said Deutch.
 
Nonetheless, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Beth Jones says Washington is pushing for democracy.
 
"We have explained this in great detail to the interim government.  And as we re-calibrated our assistance, [we] focused on core national interests of the United States," said Jones.
 
The Obama administration says its partnership with Egypt will be strongest when there is an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government based on the rule of law.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid