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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs