Despite widespread reports of abuse and troubling signs of suppressing dissent, the Egyptian military will get their US funding restored, at least in part. The State Department plans to make the announcement today.
The United States supplies Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid, plus another $250 million in economic assistance. Congress included language in the foreign aid funding bill approved last year requiring Clinton to certify that Egypt is making the transition to democracy in order for the funding to continue flowing [...]
Clinton, however, is expected to waive the requirements on national security grounds. It is unclear at this time whether Egypt will receive the entire $1.3 billion military package or only a portion of it.
The Washington Post reports that the Administration will deliver the full amount to Egypt, not just a portion.
This comes after the military detained US NGO workers, including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. It also follows a number of instances of crushing dissent in Tahrir Square, some with violent force.
The Administration is trying to spin this by saying that Egypt has made some progress; but considering that in the next few months the country will hold elections and write a new Constitution, it defies logic to not hold back at least a portion of aid to maintain leverage over the process. Especially the portion that goes to a military that is punishing its own people.
The author of the Congressional rule criticized the decision:
“I am disappointed by this decision. The Egyptian military should be defending fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, not harassing and arresting those who are working for democracy,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who wrote last year’s legislation imposing conditions on the aid. “Now that Secretary Clinton has decided to use the law’s waiver authority, she should use the flexibility the law provides and release no more taxpayer funds than is demonstrably necessary.”
“Unfortunately, even doing it this way, I’m not sure we’ll actually get goodwill in Egypt,” said Jon B. Alterman, Middle East director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “One of the effects after decades of aid is a spectacular sense of entitlement from the Egyptians. The reaction you’re going to see will range from ‘You owed us this anyway’ to resentment that we’re helping the very military that has played a role in repression.”
This decision will make nobody happy and perpetuate a troubling backslide away from democracy in the heart of the Arab uprising. All in a day’s work.