Isobel Coleman writes that while it is widely recognized that food and fuel subsidies in Egypt are expensive and inefficient, Egyptian leaders do not want to touch the political third rail of subsidy reform. But they also realize that the country's fiscal situation is untenable without it. Sooner or later, serious subsidy reform is inevitable, and a well-planned process is preferable to the alternative.
Secretary John Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr gave these remarks on March 2, 2013. During this visit, Secretary Kerry also met with President Morsi, Egyptian business leaders, and nongovernmental representatives, and announced the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund and more U.S. foreign aid.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Elliott Abrams argues that the timing, conditionality and composition of U.S. aid to Egypt should be re-examined in light of governance issues that have stalled its progress toward democracy.
The Egyptian uprising presents a rare opportunity for the United States to resolve the tension between its strategic priorities in the Middle East and its desire to support democratic change in the region. Washington's past approach to aiding Egypt was based on relations with authoritarian leaders who could be counted on to advance the United States' interests. With the fall of Hosni Mubarak and Egyptian efforts to build a more open political system, a policy based on "authoritarian stability" is no longer possible, and the United States is now forced to alter the way it appropriates and distributes bilateral assistance.
Meghan L. O'Sullivan says, "No single proposal is going to smooth over the acute political division in Egypt. Yet a deal over a constitutional review holds the prospect of at least breaking the impasse."
The future of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition movement and a standard bearer for Islamist groups around the world, remains uncertain following Mohammed Morsi's fall, explains this Backgrounder.
Steven A. Cook says, "This is a critical moment in Egypt's transition; Morsi and his colleagues would do well to recognize that, rescind the decrees, and commit themselves to the democratic process. At this point, it is the only way for the Brothers to burnish their revolutionary credentials."
In the wake of the deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, Bobby Ghosh writes that the newly-formed democratic governments which replaced long-standing dictatorships, as a result of the Arab Spring, has contributed to greater instability and a more chaotic and unstable Middle East.
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