A top Muslim Brotherhood official has warned that any cuts in U.S. aid to Egypt could affect Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel – the latest sign that Egypt’s emerging political forces intend to call Washington’s bluff over the diplomatic dispute triggered by a crackdown on non-governmental organizations.
Egyptian judges have referred 16 Americans and 27 others linked to NGOs for trial, accusing them of using foreign funds to encourage disruptive protests. Among the targeted NGOs whose assets and funds have been seized are the U.S. government-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute.
Any U.S. aid cut to Egypt, top MB lawmaker Essam el-Erian told the pan-Arabic al-Hayat newspaper, would violate the U.S.-brokered 1979 peace agreement with Israel.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Erian as saying that if the U.S. cuts aid to Egypt, the MB would consider changing the terms of the peace treaty. He is warning that the U.S. should understand that “what was acceptable before the revolution is no longer.”
Erian chairs the parliamentary foreign affairs committee and is deputy leader of the MB’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
The FJP was an early critic of the crackdown on the NGOs (although it also said Egyptian NGOs should get their funding from Egyptians). But threats to cut U.S. aid appear to have rallied various factions behind the government, feeding into long-held suspicion of and hostility towards the West.
I just scanned the text of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979. Tribute is not mentioned, nor is aid, neither in substance nor in amount.
I guess if you want to wrap your head around providing $1.3 billion to a regime that turns hourly more hostile to our interests, it would help to have the intellect of a senior vice president on the Council of Foreign Relations:
James Lindsay, senior vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that while Americans would naturally be upset if the recipients of their hard earned money are ungrateful, “gratitude isn’t the primary objective of U.S. foreign aid”
“Washington doles out aid primarily based on calculations about how to advance U.S. strategic interests. And the United States certainly has great interests at stake in how Egypt’s political transition plays out even if it doesn’t have a lot of influence over where it ends up.”
Great interest + not a lot of influence = $1.3 billion per year.
They could pay me half that, and I would not just be greatly interested, but fascinated – riveted even – with about the same amount influence. Even more interest with no loss of influence at half the cost?
Hey, these are tough economic times, but I’m willing to do my part.
I can’t help it: I’m a giver. I give.