A recent U.S. report, prepared by POMED and CIP has questioned the feasibility of the U.S. Security Assistance to Egypt
In a new report jointly published by the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and the Center for International Policy (CIP), titled “U.S. Security Assistance to Egypt: Examining the Return on Investment,” coauthors Seth Binder of POMED and William D. Hartung of CIP call for a revamp of U.S. security assistance to Egypt—including a reduction in U.S. military aid.
Since overthrowing Egypt’s democratically elected president in 2013, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has built the most repressive Egyptian state in modern history. His regime has engaged in a systematic pattern of gross human rights violations, from gunning down peaceful protesters in the streets to jailing tens of thousands of political opponents, severely restricting the ability of independent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to operate, all but eliminating a free and independent press, and perpetuating tensions between Muslims and Christians.
Egypt’s military relies heavily on U.S. security assistance, but instead of using U.S. assistance to develop the military’s capabilities and advance shared national security interests, the Egyptian government has misused the aid for patronage and prestige.
The report’s key recommendations include:
– Cutting military aid by $300 million per year: A significant reduction in military aid will signal to the Egyptians that U.S. assistance is not an entitlement, but rather is dependent on their conduct. The $300 million should be repurposed as humanitarian assistance for the global effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
– Removing the national security waiver that allows circumvention of human rights conditions: Conditions on U.S. security assistance should continue to push for an end to torture in Egypt’s prison system; easing of restrictions on journalists, human rights defenders, and other NGOs; and an end to the killing, torture, and displacement of civilians in the anti-terror campaign in northern Sinai.
– Increasing transparency for how U.S. aid is used: To guard against corruption, journalists and U.S. officials must be allowed access to northern Sinai so that they may monitor the actions of the Egyptian military and provide a clear accounting of how U.S. funds are being spent.
– Restricting U.S. aid for sustainment to Egypt’s most urgent security challenges: The Egyptian government continues to use U.S. assistance to maintain patronage networks rather than to address legitimate security threats. The United States should restrict the use of funds for sustaining existing stockpiles to purposes of antiterrorism and border, maritime, and Sinai security.