Diplomacy

Analysts Blast Renewed Rumors of Egypt Aid Cut-Off: “Big Mistake,” “Lose Lose”

News leaked late today that President Barack Obama’s national security aides are urging the administration to suspend “hundreds of millions” of dollars of assistance to Egypt. The move would come months after the Egyptian military responded to a week of mass anti-government protests, during which demonstrators called for the resignation of the country’s former President Mohammed Morsi, by removing the Muslim Brotherhood-linked official from power.

Violent pro-Morsi protests that subsequently erupted have become what the Associated Press describes as “small and scattered,” as the country’s army-backed interim government moved to create a new constitutional committee inclusive of women, secularists, and religious minorities.

The Washington Institute’s Robert Satloff and Eric Trager – respectively the think tank’s executive director and Esther K. Wagner fellow – took to Twitter to question the logic behind renewed calls to cut off aid:

 

 

The Egyptian army deployed Apache helicopters this week as part of the military’s increasingly pitched campaign to uproot jihadists. The weapons, purchased with U.S. assistance, were critical in providing air cover for an operation targeting jihadist infrastructure. Egyptian media reported that the army used helicopters in multiple locations to target, among other things, arms depots.

The recommendation to cut off aid seeks to exempt security assistance being used by the army to conduct operations in the Sinai Peninsula and along Egypt’s border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. David Barnett – a researcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who focuses on counter-terrorism and intelligence in the area – questioned whether such an exemption could even be realistically implemented:

 

 

 

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