News / Middle East

    US Lawmakers: Aid to Egypt Should Continue - for Now

    A supporter of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in front pictures of Morsi at Nasr City, where protesters have installed their camp and hold their daily rally, in Cairo, Egypt, July 25, 2013.
    A supporter of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in front pictures of Morsi at Nasr City, where protesters have installed their camp and hold their daily rally, in Cairo, Egypt, July 25, 2013.
    Michael Bowman
    Some U.S. lawmakers say there should be no immediate cut-off of American aid to Egypt following the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The future of that assistance was the focus of a Senate hearing one day after the Obama administration announced a delay in the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Egypt.

    For decades, Egypt has been a top recipient of U.S. foreign aid, including substantial military assistance. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat Robert Menendez, says aid should continue to flow, at least for now.

    “Abandoning Egypt would be a particularly poor policy choice,” he said.

    Similarly, the committee’s top Republican, Senator Bob Corker, argued in favor of soothing tensions between Washington and Cairo.

    “I do think that our nation’s role in Egypt right now should be an instrument of calmness. I think sometimes we forget that we have critical national security interests in Egypt," he said. "It is the most populous country in the Middle East, a strategic ally, the recipient of more than $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer money [annually], provides U.S. military vessels preferred access to the Suez Canal, and our two countries cooperate on counterterrorism."

    Wednesday, the Pentagon announced a delay in the delivery of four F-16 jets to Egypt. A spokesman said the U.S.-Egyptian military relationship endures, but that the administration desires a return to democratic governance in Egypt as soon as possible.

    The Obama administration has not labeled Morsi’s ouster an actual military coup which, under U.S. law, would trigger a cut-off of assistance to Egypt. Such an outcome would be viewed negatively by many Egyptians, according to former U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross, who testified at the Senate hearing.

    “I am afraid that if we were to cut off our assistance at this point, the effect would be to lose the link we have with the military. But we would also find a backlash among the Egyptian public," he said. "The Egyptian public would look at this as an American effort to dictate to them against the popular will.”

    Another witness said inaction, however, causes the United States to be seen as indifferent or even condoning the removal of a duly-elected leader.

    “The United States is understandably wary of damaging its longstanding relationship with the Egyptian government. But it should also avoid pursuing a policy that appears to be cynical and unprincipled,” said former State Department Middle East affairs specialist Michele Dunne.

    Menendez emphasized that U.S. goals must remain clear.

    “At the end of the day, Egyptian leaders and the Egyptian military must show that they are committed to an inclusive political process, credible democratic elections, and democratic governance that protects the rights of religious minorities and women,” he said.

    Menendez warned that U.S. support “is not unconditional and unending.”

    • Morsi supporters say they moved onto the streets in reaction to the massive rallies against the former president in June. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    • Men spray the hot crowds with cold water from plastic water packs and bottles. Currently fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, no one in this crowd takes a drink. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    • Fifteen-year-old Abdulrahman Usama has been staying in this tent for nearly a month and says he won't go back to school until the former president is reinstated. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    • Some people are operating businesses like prickly-pears for sale in crates, but pro-Morsi protesters say most of the people living in this tent village spend the hot days resting, reading Quran, and preparing for rallies. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
    • Emad Zaghlul Mustafa fills bottles with colored sand depicting landscapes. He says he moved into the tent village to protest the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, but creates art to keep himself busy between rallies. (Heather Murdock for VOA)

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: GrinOlsson from: Alaska, USA
    July 25, 2013 10:13 PM
    As an American, I find it scandalous to give one single cent of American tax money to Muslim nations. It's an outrage. Their ideology mixes religion with politics and the United States government is banned from intruding into religious affiliations inside of our boundaries as well as outside of our boundaries. We should disengage from the Middle East, refuse to provide military and financial aid, as well as ban Islamists from receiving visas, residency, or citizenship in the United States. Their fanaticism never ends - and only results in violence. By the way, America only had 100,000 Muslims in 1970 and now we have over 9 million. Who let them in the United States?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora