Should the United States Stop Giving Aid to Egypt?

Security forces killed almost 640 people in Cairo on Wednesday as they clashed with protesters who had been camped in Tahrir Square for the past six weeks in defiance of the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi on July 3. Egypt’s capital is under military lockdown after authorities declared a state of emergency amid reports of unrest and deaths throughout the country.

International condemnation of the violence has been widespread if muted with European officials calling for the European Union to suspend aid to Egypt. With the death toll rising on Friday as the Muslim Brotherhood sought to rally its forces and supporters joined in a “Day of Rage” march in Cairo amid gunfire, the United States is still vacillating about suspending the annual $1.3 billion in military aid it gives to Egypt.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. will not hold joint military exercises with Egypt that were to take place in the upcoming months. Saying that, after Morsi’s ouster, authorities in Egypt have taken “a more dangerous path taken through arbitrary arrests,” Obama stated that “our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back.”

Authorities in Cairo countered that Obama’s statements were not based on “facts” and that he did not grasp that “terrorist acts” were being committed in Egypt.

United States Needs to Act Now and Reexamine Its Aid to Egypt

Obama also commented that “we recognize that change takes time. …We know that democratic transitions are measured not in months or even years, but sometimes in generations.” His response has disappointed many wanting the United States to take a far harsher stance toward Egypt. Senator John McCain in particular has called for aid to Egypt to end, saying that “the law is very clear that if there is a coup that aid is cut off and we decided not to do that.”

Fear of losing leverage with the generals now running Egypt has made the White House’s intervention so limited, ”cosmetic” and (from the perspective of Egypt’s authorities) the least painful possible. As Amy Hawthorne, who until recently was an Egypt policy official at the State Department, says,

If I’m an Egyptian general, I take notice and think President Obama is trying to take the least painful step to demonstrate to various constituencies in the US that he means what he says about democracy in Egypt, but only the least painful step, so we won’t take him that seriously.

The United States has yet to use the word “coup” to describe the removal of Egypt’s democratically elected president, writes Heather Hurlbert in the Guardian. But with so many apparently unarmed civilians killed by security forces, the time is past to debate about whether or not Morsi’s ouster was a coup and the generals now running Egypt need to be sanctioned.

What the United States needs at least to do, says Hurlbert, is to make it clear that it is conducting a thorough review of its aid to Egypt, to have a very clear idea of “what levels and types of aid serve U.S. national security interests and of what aid harms them, either by empowering the violations of human rights or by extending the perception that the US condones the abuses.”

For instance, under the Leahy Law, U.S. support to military units that violate human rights with impunity must be banned. According to this, any Egyptian forces that had a part in this past week’s violence would be ineligible for U.S. military aid and training.

What’s clear is that the United States must abandon its reluctance to take decisive steps about its policy toward Egypt as the military — the current authorities in the country — continue an increasingly bloody crackdown.

Photo via Darla دارلا Hueske/Flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Linda F.
.4 years ago

YES stop all aide until FGM ceases
98 % of Egyptian girls have been mutilated
140 million women now alive have experienced FGM. This mutilation is carried out with no anaesthetic.
Unknown numbers of victims die directly because of FGM, many more are scarred (physically and mentally) for life.3 million new FGM cases occur annually . Its rationales include dire mis-information (the clitoris may grow into a third leg / penis, or contact will kill a man or baby) bride price (uncut women may be excluded even from handling food and water),

Richard Stockton
Bret stockton4 years ago

The military overthrow of Mohammed Morsi was indisputably a coup. US law clearly states that under those conditions, all aid is to cease from being delivered to that country. The vast majority of this funding is geared toward their over bloated military. We could save immense funds by ceasing to reward this brutality. 1.3 billion is enough to help with the national debt and/or for domestic programs. I'm with Rand Paul on this one.

Paul Barbara
Paul Barbara4 years ago

@ Angela I - I'm afraid you've got a rather topsy-turvy view of the world. It is not these foreign nations that cause these wars, but the US. When did Egypt ever attack the US? Or when did North Korea, Argentina, North Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Haiti, Panama, Guatemala, Iran, Yemen, Phillipines or Serbia attack the US?
Since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars (from 'Loonwatch').
And far from 'assisting' countries with handouts, the US bleeds them dry.
Why do you think Americans had such a good standard of living? Read John Perkins 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman'.
Why has the US got about 180 military bases around the world?
Why have they consistently supported despots and tyrants, from Pinochet's Chile, the Juntas in Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua (under Somoza), Cuba (under Batista), Haiti (under Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier), Mobutu, Sadam Hussein, Apartheid South Africa?

Angela l.
Angela L4 years ago

I don't know why Americans are supporting so many countries while we are having more than enough problems in our homeland. Those people like to fight themselves to death just for power. So non sense. Everybody wants to rule the world! I know it's all about politics!!! But other countries like NZ, Canada etc...maintain a good stable situation for their citizens. You help only they want to help themselves, in return, they always blame on Americans.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani4 years ago

Good morning Jonathan - thanks for the wishes. Nasser had charisma and first the interest of the country at heart; a rare commodity today. He also united the people by having national projects and a positive vision. If only, only he would have had some democracy in his heart. Guess if one never learns it ...

Just watched a speech given by him in the early 60's telling the US: "You think because of giving us aid you can dictate our decisions - NO. We don't want it! (At the time it was 50 Mio $ p/y). We'll drink less tea (an Egyptian without tea can't function - LOL), less ... but keep your aid!". There are many reasons why he had to die of a "heart attack" in 1970 - 3 hrs after Sadat himself prepared a coffee for him ... honit soit qui mal y pense! And here too - refusal by the UN to investigate. Conspiracy anyone? Yes - but by who?

I agree with you on Morsi's removal; the transparent (!) democratic way is the best. But Morsi issued (after the new constitution was out and people started to openly disagree with his "policy") a Constitional Declaration in Nov '12 taking away the right from the courts to challenge his decisions. Surprisingly this didn't trigger any reaction from the West ...

And so on ... I don't know if you're interested but there's an interesting disc going on here:

Stay safe too!

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y4 years ago

Thanks for link, Eleonora. Most Americans would be surprized at how secular and modern-sounding Nasser was in 1953.

On Looking at Morsi's record as President, I have to agree with you. I still think it's dangerous to unseat him in this fashion; a constitutional method like impeachment would have been better. But I do understand now why the majority of Egyptian people rejected him. Democratic he certainly wasn't. Good luck to you and be safe.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani4 years ago

To Jonathan – you are right it’s really ironic that Morsi (educated in Egypt, he only made his PhD in the US) who lived for 10 yrs in the States couldn’t do better. A young activist asked about giving Morsi yet another chance summed it up (verbetum): “I don’t mind to give anyone a chance. But someone who lived for 10 years in the States, comes back and can’t speak English … what kind of a chance do I give him?!” Re NASA: Morsi claimed to have worked for NASA (on video) – the same Morsi later denied having said that (on video) when the digging about his past started. You tell me – do we believe him … or him??

Pres. Morsi made in Germany famous statement: “Gas and alcohol don’t mix!” wanting to say “don’t drink (alcohol) and drive”. The honorable audience had a hard time not to LOL but he didn’t get it.

As I live on the ground (Cairo) let me give you some historically proven facts: Nasser knew the MBs in and out and was therefore fighting the MBs all the way; he was a truly secular (political) person albeit being a normal, decent Muslim – BTW it does mix well. Trying to reconcile he caught them on their own hypocrisy. These subtitled video with Gamal Abdel Nasser summarizes best the fabric of the MBs – watch it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy:

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani4 years ago

Sadat let them out of jail, “rehabilitated” them with the declared intention that they go after and kill Nasser’s followers which were mainly socialists and to a lesser degree communists.

The true irony is that 10 years later he was killed by them although it’s widely accepted that they were just the tool. Another “irony” is that the UN up until today refuses profoundly without giving reasons to conduct an investigation into his death (unlike when Hariri died - they couldn’t get fast enough to Lebanon to pin it on Syria)!

The MBs have well documented ties to Al Qaida and they proudly declare it time and again (see their websites) and have in their demonstrations the black Al Qaida flag. This is the very same terrorist organization which the whole world fights against under the leadership of the US – but Egypt should have them as its leaders?!?! Do you think the US citizens would accept to be ruled by a terrorist group who belongs to 2 International Terror Organizations (The International MB and Al Qaida)?

The WH – as always – had since years its hands on both sides of the equation. Coming up to election time in 2005 and thereafter the MBs were pictured and videoed on a number of occasions when they were received in the WH through side entrances. Already then it was clear that the Egyptians would never accept what was in store for them: Gamal Mubarak (the

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani4 years ago

2nd son of Hosni) as their next president. Especially since they knew that he was endorsed by AIPAC and received on 3 occasions standing ovations when giving speeches at AIPAC. It’s all documented in the net and the AIPAC archives. You may also want to read what I wrote about their history in this thread.

To get an idea what I’m talking about have a look at this video:

Take Safwat Hegazi ( – banned since years from entering the UK because of incitement to hate and murder – and whose arrest (among others) saddens Obama to the point that he demands his release together with the other MB leaders. Obama is utterly concerned about the disrespect for Human Rights by arresting these “peaceful” people. Mind you – these ARE the very “same people” who Obama kills extrajudicial in other countries by the dozens with drones without proof … and in the process kills some innocent civilians too.

The Egyptian people as well as later the interim President and the Army – all have told and offered the MBs for a period of 6 weeks to vacate Raba Al Adaweya and Al Nahda and to come back to the political process. Bear in mind that these “peaceful protesters” were visibly armed to their teeth and used them, had no problem in abducting and torturing people who opposed them