Obama Admin (and Media) Ignoring Egypt’s Threats of War
According to a Congressional Research Service report on Egypt for fiscal year 2013, Obama requested $1.55 billion in total aid to Egypt: $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid.
Since 1979, Egypt has been the second-largest recipient, after Israel, of U.S. bilateral foreign assistance, with $1.3 billion a year in military aid sent. Egypt received no increase under Bush’s administration; instead Egypt was still supplied with $1.3 billion in military aid annually, the same amount it had received annually for military aid since 1987.
In 2011, Egypt received almost a quarter of all U.S. Foreign Military funds, divided into three groups: acquisitions, upgrades to existing equipment, and support/maintenance contracts which included U.S.-Egyptian coproduction of the M1A1 Abrams Battle tank. Egypt plans to acquire a total of 1,200 tanks. The terms of the program state that a percentage of the tank’s components are manufactured in Egypt at a facility near Cairo and the rest of the parts are produced in the United States and shipped to Egypt for final assembly.
Since Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi came into power, too few people are questioning the wisdom of continuing funding and sending arms to those who have been viewed as hostile to America. In January 2013, four F-16s arrived in Egypt, 20 F-16 C/D fighters which had been promised back in 2011, before the change in Egypt’s government, and in 2010 Lockheed Martin and Egypt reached an agreement for the purchase of 20 F-16C/Ds29 valued at an estimated $2.5 billion. Then there is the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, which specifies that $1.3 Billion be made available for grants only for Egypt, including for border security programs and activities in the Sinai.”
In March of this year, Fox News reported that Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Rubio and others pressured Obama’s administration and congress to stop sending aid unless certain conditions are attached. “Foreign aid is something that’s supposed to further the national interest of the United States… And my problem with the Egyptian aid, and quite frankly with a lot of our foreign aid, is that we give foreign aid, but we’re not sure what we’re getting in return for it. What is the national interest that’s being advanced?” Rubio said to Fox in an interview.
In the news a week earlier Sec. of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. would provide an additional $250 million in assistance to Egypt after President Morsi promised to move ahead with negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over economic reforms. In a statement issued after his meeting with Morsi, Kerry said the aid decision reflected Egypt’s “extreme needs” and Morsi’s “assurance” that Egypt would reach an agreement with the I.M.F. after more than a year of talks over a $4.8 billion loan package.
The statement issued by Kerry noted that he and President Morsi had discussed the “need to ensure the fairness of Egypt’s coming elections”, but it did not mention any specific commitments Morsi had made to receive the aid. Parliamentary elections were scheduled for April but some opposition groups said they would boycott the vote because they saw it as an effort by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to dominate Egyptian politics. After proposals by Morsi to hold the elections in stages were struck down by Egyptian court, he then proposed they be held in October. The delay could permit the government to negotiate a deal with the IMF for a $4.8 billion loan and allow secular opposition to unite and campaign for seats in the Council and the lower house.
It was recently reported that Kerry secretly sent $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid last month to the Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt, ignoring restrictions put in place by Congress. This during a time when democrats have been blaming every budget shortfall on the sequester. Despite saying in a memo that “we are not satisfied with the extent of Egypt’s progress and are pressing for a more inclusive democratic process and the strengthening of key democratic institutions,” Kerry said the aid should go forward. Under U.S. law, for the $1.3 billion to be given, the secretary of state must certify that the Egyptian government “is supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion, and due process of law.” But now tensions and violence have risen as the June 30th one-year anniversary of Morsi’s Presidential win nears. Morsi has ignored requests for an earlier election calling them “absurd and illegal.” He also warned against violence during upcoming demonstrations, which the opposition plans for the anniversary.
So with all of the unrest and uncertainty going on in Egypt now, and with the billions in monetary and military aid given to Morsi and the Brotherhood, one would think any news coming out of Egypt would be shown by our media especially if it indicated a potential threat to Israel or the US.
Why then, when an Egyptian politician spoke openly, on live television, about turning a conflict with Ethiopia over construction on a dam on the Nile River into a war with the United States and Israel, was there very little mention other than on a few internet sites? One would think that this would be big news, but there has not been a peep about it in the mainstream media.
Those who attended the meeting called by Morsi seemed not to know that the meeting was being broadcast live. In a “hot mic” moment, Magdi Hussein, Chairman of Egypt’s Islamic Labor Party stated that the conflict over the Nile was not with Ethiopia, but with the United States and Israel. Hussein said he was “very fond of battles. With the enemies of course, with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with judiciousness and calm.” He then suggested that the attendees swear to secrecy as they prepare for a confrontation. “We need a popular plan for popular national security.”
As he spoke, someone handed Hussein a note, apparently telling him the meeting was broadcast live. He quickly covered and replied, “Okay … fine… The principles behind what I’m saying are not really secret… Our war is with America and Israel, not with Ethiopia. Therefore engaging in a war… This is my opinion….”
Morsi then interrupted the discussion and stated, “This meeting is being aired live on TV.”
Hussein continued after, wondering, “I say to the Egyptian people: Nobody can turn off your water supply, unless they want to turn the Egyptians into the world’s most extremist people. Imagine what this people would do if its water were turned off, what all 80 million of us would do to Israel and America if our water were turned off.”
Morsi later stated that Egypt has a lot of respect for the Ethiopian people. “We are not about to start aggression against anyone whatsoever or affront anyone whatsoever… But we have very serious measures to protect every single drop of Nile water – every single drop of water,” he added.
Egypt’s agriculture is completely dependent on the Nile River and every drop is desperately needed. Ethiopian officials claim the dam will not be used for agriculture, just for the production of electricity and therefore it should not decrease the amount of water flowing to Egypt. Ethiopia’s leader has vowed that no one will stop the $4.2 billion energy project that is diverting the flow of the Nile River after Egypt’s president warned that all options were being considered to stop construction of the dam.
On the same day the news came out about the hot mic incident, ABC News reported about the tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia. They mentioned that Egyptian political leaders last week told President Morsi to consider hostile acts against Ethiopia, saying that the leaders recommended spreading rumors, aiding rebels and even sabotaging the dam itself in a meeting with Morsi. The ABC story never mentioned Hussein’s threats of war with Israel and the US.
By continuing to fund Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, essentially arming them as well as paying them money, Americans should be incensed to hear someone call for war against us. With Obama and his administration’s “open arms” policies concerning the Brotherhood, and with many in Congress and the media’s refusal to hold anyone to account, maybe it’s not only the American press who is in “de Nile”.