News / USA

    US Reviewing Aid to Egypt

    Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stand in a line as volunteers distribute juice ahead of iftar (breaking of fast) during the holy month of Ramadan, as they continue a sit-in around Rabaa Adawiya mosque, east of Cairo, July 17, 2013.
    Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stand in a line as volunteers distribute juice ahead of iftar (breaking of fast) during the holy month of Ramadan, as they continue a sit-in around Rabaa Adawiya mosque, east of Cairo, July 17, 2013.
    Egypt’s interim president has sworn in a new Cabinet, but not one of its 34 members is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood - the movement that came to power with last year’s election of Mohamed Morsi as president.

    On July 3, the Egyptian military ousted the democratically elected leader after millions of Egyptians took to the streets for four days, protesting the way he ran the country.

    Mirette Mabrouk, with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said Morsi and his government were simply incompetent.

    “The Brotherhood made just about every mistake in the book, really. They proved enormously inept at running the country, and they proved enormously inept at running the country at a very difficult stage in its time,” said Mabrouk. “As a result, the president is out and the Brotherhood are - after 80 years of having been in opposition and having been, it must be said, having been persecuted by the regime, all of a sudden they had power - they have been unable to hold onto it.”

    The Muslim Brotherhood considers the current military backed government to be illegitimate.

    Review of Aid after Miltary Action

    The Obama administration is reviewing U.S. aid to Egypt after the military action. A U.S. law stipulates the cutoff of aid to “any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup.” But U.S. officials have been hesitant to apply the “coup” label to what happened in Egypt.

    Each year, Washington provides $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt. Some U.S. lawmakers are pressing to end that aid.

    But former U.S. State Department Middle East expert Aaron David Miller said that is a bad idea.

    “After all, we supplied this assistance for 30 years - three decades - to a regime that made no pretense of being democratic, a regime in which there were no elections, a regime in which there were no popular demonstrations of this magnitude. A regime, essentially, that wasn’t open in any way, shape or form, to a serious sharing of power,” said Miller. “And so, how by extension, could you now, at a time when Egypt maybe is in the process of democratization, where you’ve had elections, where you’ve had massive outpouring of the popular will - how can we suspend the aid now? It’s fundamentally illogical.”

    U.S. Has Little Leverage Over Egypt

    Many experts say the U.S. government has very little leverage over what is happening or will happen in Egypt.

    Jeffrey Martini of the RAND Corporation said one reason is that U.S. economic aid to Egypt has been reduced over the years, in part due to the growth of Egypt’s economy.

    “In the mid-1980s, the total aid flow to Egypt from the United States was equivalent to about 7 percent of Egypt’s economy - that would give you a lot of leverage,” said Martini. “Today, it’s about [zero-]point-seven percent - so a 10-fold drop as compared to the size of the Egyptian economy. So you don’t get much leverage when you are looking at aid flows of [zero-]point-seven percent the size of the Egyptian economy.”

    Leverage or no leverage, the United States and other countries believe having a politically stable Egypt is essential for the Middle East.

    “Other countries have depended on it [Egypt] culturally, they have depended on it in terms of labor, they have depended on it in terms of political leadership,” said Mabrouk. “Israel is dependent for a stable Egypt on its borders. A stable, prosperous, if you like, but certainly stable and healthy Egypt is absolutely vital to the Middle East. Otherwise, frankly, no one would care. If Egypt were irrelevant, then people would not be paying attention - people pay attention because Egypt is vital.”

    Looking ahead, Mabrouk and others say the United States and other countries should stay on the sidelines and let the Egyptian political process take its course.

    Andre de Nesnera

    Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

    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

    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