Sunday, September 5, 2010

Egypt's Regime Will Change

by Aroop Mukharji

New Republic
September 4, 2010

Sometimes, it seems like the United States is more interested in giving aid to Egypt than Egypt is to receive it. This year, for example, Egypt objected to a $250 million civilian aid package if USAID funded unregistered NGOs. Many human rights groups in the country have trouble receiving official sanction from the Egyptian government and thus require outside support to be effective. So, instead of standing firm, the Obama administration agreed to cut their USAID support, departing from U.S. policy elsewhere in the world and breaking its own law as stipulated under the Brownback Amendment.

This perverse exchange is just one of many accumulating signs that U.S. policy toward Egypt desperately needs change, and soon. Currently, America gives Egypt over $1.3 billion every year in military aid alone, fortifying a cruel dictatorship in the hope that this friendship helps the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, contributes to stability in the Middle East, garners more Arab alliances, and fends off religious extremism. And with Egypt’s upcoming elections and indications that Mubarak may be unlikely to live out the next few years, the benefits of incremental reform are increasing, while the costs of sticking with the status quo remain very high.