Egypt and the U.S. Aid Cut

I worry this partial aid ‘cut’ is to show we’re doing something, without actually accomplishing anything,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “It’s foreign policy by gesture.”

The United States is achieving “the worst of both worlds,” he added. “They’re not putting pressure on the military, but they’re still going to anger the Egyptian population and make it seem like they’re punishing the military and suspending aid.” In trying to please everyone, Obama has managed exactly the opposite. Egyptians opposed to Mursi say Washington has gone too far, while the former president’s supporters say it has not done enough.

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For those who are following recent events in Egypt, the controversy regarding the question of  whether the United States should cut its aid to Egypt’s military in response to its coup against the democratically elected Morsi government is common knowledge. It is also known that on October 9 the United States announced a substantial deduction in aid to the Egyptian military. This I have to think is a good thing even if it is nothing more than a slap on the hand which is how it is described by a  sizable number of scholars on Egypt. One such scholar is Sharif Nashashibi a co-founder of  Arab Media Watch. He has recently written an article called “Egypt and the U.S aid cut: Ineffective Symbolism” for Al-Arabiya News. In this article he summarizes the arguments why the recent US aid cuts to the Egyptian military are of a primarily cosmetic nature. The link to the Al-Arabiya article is http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/world/2013/10/21/Egypt-and-the-U-S-aid-cut-Inef fective-symbolism.html

In “A Coup Too Far: The Case For Reordering U.S Priorities in Egypt” a policy briefing by the Doha Brookings Center, scholars Shadi Hamid and Peter Mandaville make a solid argument for a much tougher and systematic cut in aid to the Egyptian military. Only a complete reordering of U.S priorities to Egypt will, these scholars argue, will be effective in pushing Egypt back to a path to democracy and to the protection of the human rights of all of its citizens including those of the Muslim Brotherhood. The articles link is http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/09/05-us-priorities-egypt-hamid-mandaville

Glenn

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