Oct 11 11:53 AM

8 things you need to know about Egypt's relations with the U.S.

Today, Friday, October 11th, at 9:30p EST, our new Fault Lines episode “Egypt and the USA” airs on Al Jazeera America. 

In this episode, Fault Lines investigates the US-Egypt relationship after the military coup of July 3, 2013.

"Egypt: Background and US Relations" (Jeremy Sharp, CRS, June 27, 2013)

Two years after the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is fraught with a polarized political culture and a contracting economy that, if not stabilized, could spark greater public unrest. The Muslim Brotherhood and the military are the two dominant actors, with the former gradually consolidating power in all branches of government and the latter retaining a large measure of control over national security and some foreign policy decision-making. 

Although President Muhammad Morsi may perceive his growing control over the state as necessary for stability, his opponents perceive a power grab, as the Morsi Administration has faced a public backlash from urban middle class residents in Cairo and citizens of the canal cities of Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez. Egyptians are divided on questions pertaining to the role of religion in public life and the degree of state involvement in the economy, among other issues. 

By the Millions, Egyptians Seek Morsi’s Ouster (NYT, David D. Kirkpatrick, Kareem Fahim and Ben Hubbard, June 30, 2013)

Millions of Egyptians streamed into the streets of cities across the country on Sunday to demand the ouster of their first elected head of state, President Mohamed Morsi, in an outpouring of anger at the political dominance of his Islamist backers in the Muslim Brotherhood.

The scale of the demonstrations, coming just one year after crowds in Tahrir Square cheered Mr. Morsi’s inauguration, appeared to exceed even the massive street protests in the heady final days of the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in 2011...

Demonstrators said they were angry about the near total absence of public security, the desperate state of the Egyptian economy and an increase in sectarian tensions. But the common denominator across the country was the conviction that Mr. Morsi had failed to transcend his roots in the Brotherhood, an insular Islamist group officially outlawed under Mr. Mubarak that is now considered Egypt’s most formidable political force. 

"Army Ousts Egypt’s President; Morsi Is Taken Into Military Custody"
(NYT, David D. Kirkpatrick, July 3, 2013)

 Egypt’s military officers removed the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, on Wednesday, suspended the Constitution and installed an interim government presided over by a senior jurist.

"Hundreds Die as Egyptian Forces Attack Islamist Protesters" (NYT, David D. Kirkpatrick, Kareem Fahim and Ben Hubbard, August 14, 2013)

 Egyptian security officers stormed two encampments packed with supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, on Wednesday in a scorched-earth assault that killed hundreds, set off a violent backlash across Egypt and underscored the new government’s determination to crush the Islamists who dominated two years of free elections.

The attack, the third mass killing of Islamist demonstrators since the military ousted Mr. Morsi six weeks ago, followed a series of government threats. But the scale — lasting more than 12 hours, with armored vehicles, bulldozers, tear gas, birdshot, live ammunition and snipers — and the ferocity far exceeded the Interior Ministry’s promises of a gradual and measured dispersal.

"Egypt: Security Forces Use Excessive Lethal Force," (HRW, Aug 19, 2013)

Egyptian security forces’ rapid and massive use of lethal force to disperse sit-ins on August 14, 2013 led to the most serious incident of mass unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history.       

The ongoing Human Rights Watch investigation indicates that the decision to use live ammunition on a large scale from the outset reflected a failure to observe basic international policing standards on use of lethal force and was not justified by the disruptions caused by the demonstrations or the limited possession of arms by some protesters.

The failure of the authorities to provide safe exit from the sit-in, including for people wounded by live fire and needing urgent medical attention, was a serious violation of international standards.

Kim Ghattas: The Cost of Cutting U.S. Aid to Egypt (BBC, Aug 22, 2013)

The Obama administration says it is continuing to review its military aid to Egypt, infuriating those calling for an immediate cut in assistance that would send a strong signal to Egypt's army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The White House's slow and deliberate approach is not only driven by a debate over national security concerns but also partly by the cost and impact the move could have on defence contracts and jobs at home.

Washington's military relationship with Egypt runs deep and is tied up in complicated financing mechanisms and long-running contracts.

Marian Wang and Theodoric Meyer: F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt: Where Does the Money Go, And How Is It Spent?  (ProPublica, Aug 21, 2013)

The Obama administration is reportedlypreparing to cutmuch of the $1.55 billion in annual aid that the U.S. sends to Egypt.

The move, which has yet to be formally announced, comes after more than 1,000 Egyptians have died in a crackdown following the military coup this summer, including at least 51 who were killed on Sunday in clashes in Cairo and other cities. Most were apparently supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi...

Egypt receives more U.S. aid than any country except for Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The exact amount varies from year to year and there are many different funding streams, but U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged about $2 billion a year since 1979, when Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel. Most of that goes toward military aid. President Obama’s 2014 budget tentatively included $1.55 billion in aid, about the same amount the U.S. has sent in recent years.

US halts tank, jet deliveries to Egypt (Al Jazeera America, October 9, 2013)

The U.S. has put a hold on delivering tanks and fighter jets to Egypt, officials said Wednesday in an apparent show of Washington’s disapproval of a violent crackdown of protesters by its traditional Middle East ally.

In a statement, the U.S. Department of State said certain "large-scale military systems" would not be sent to Cairo "pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections."

"The United States continues to support a democratic transition and oppose violence as a means of resolving differences within Egypt," the State Department said.

...Washington will continue to supply parts for military equipment as well as military training. And humanitarian aid will continue to flow.

...Washington also plans to halt a $260 million cash transfer and a planned $300 million loan guarantee to the Cairo government, the source said, after members of Congress were briefed by officials from the State Department about the administration's plans.



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