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
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

TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid