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article imageU.S. aid to Egypt to be decreased

By Paul Iddon     Jun 18, 2014 in Politics
U.S. economic aid to Egypt may be brought from $1.3 billion down to $1 billion and may be conditioned by the democratic and human rights situation in the country itself after the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed cutting aid to Egypt by 28%.
Daily News Egypt informs us that this bill was part of a much larger package valued at approximately $48.3 billion. This packages purpose is the protection of various United States interests around the world, ranging from economic to humanitarian and to security.
U.S. aid to Egypt is guaranteed under the terms of the Camp David Accords peace treaty that Egypt signed with Israel back in 1978.
Politico points out that this senate bill constitutes a significantly aggressive house reaction regarding aid deliveries to Egypt in light of the political situation there. It also came mere hours after Egypt's new President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi swore in his new cabinet.
"I think Egypt needs to be put on notice that we expect them to move forward toward democracy. I want to help Egypt, but Egypt has to help itself. The last election was suspect, and that's the message we're trying to send," said Senator Lindsey Graham following the committee meeting.
Graham also said that budget cuts were necessitated in part by humanitarian crises in Africa and Iraq.
The Senate bill also stipulates that aid allocated for military purposes can instead be used for humanitarian purposes.
Egypt's president in his former army chief capacity ousted the former democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood has since been banned and cracked down on.
Egypt is also fighting a militant Islamist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis in the Sinai Peninsula. A group inspired by al-Qaeda's ideology and is doing utmost to cripple the Egyptian economy by blowing up gas pipelines and targeting areas frequented by foreign tourists.
Last April the United States government promised to deliver ten Apache helicopter gunships to aid the Egyptian military in its campaign against this Islamist group. These gunships have yet to be delivered.
Sisi himself has insisted that without continued United States military aid his country will become "another Afghanistan".
For the incumbent U.S. administration to legally continue supplying the Egyptian military aid and equipment Congress must first verify that Egypt is taking satisfactory steps towards democratizing. As Graham said the question of democracy and political freedom in today's Egypt is "suspect".
More about US, Egypt, Abdel Fattah elSisi, egypt military, Sinai
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