from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Doubts About U.S. Assistance to Egypt

April 28, 2017

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Over the last forty years the United States has given Egypt tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance. The aid process has been on automatic pilot, with the United States delivering $1.3 billion per year in military aid-- and Egypt viewing the aid as a kind of right to be delivered with few questions asked.

But questions should be asked. The Sisi government has jailed an estimated 60,000 political prisoners, many of them without a trial. In prison they are maltreated and even tortured, and housed with jihadis. This is a perfect formula for creating more jihadis and terrorists, as men emerge from prison radicalized and seeking revenge. The Egyptian military is spending vast sums purchasing submarines, frigates, and advanced combat jets of no utility in combating terrorism. Egypt's influence in the Arab world is certainly far less than it was decades ago.

So, why continue giving that U.S. aid, especially when aid budgets are slim and the money is so badly needed for other American friends and allies?

That was the subject of a hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs this past week, chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham. A summary and the full text of my own testimony is found here, and the entire hearing can be watched here.

Up
Close