Monday, December 8, 2014

US continues aid and support to Egypt in spite of its repressive policies

In spite of the fact that since the overthrow of elected president Mohamed Morsi led by then army chief Abdel al-Sisi, the regime has become even more repressive since his election as president and the Obama administration has become more supportive.

In September President Al-Sisi met with Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright. In late September, Obama also met with al-Sisi and "touted the longstanding relationship between the United States and Egypt as a cornerstone of American security policy in the Middle East." In June, Human Rights Watch claimed that the post-coup era in Egypt has included "the worst incident of mass unlawful killings in Egypt's recent history". The situation became even worse as: “judicial authorities have handed down unprecedented large-scale death sentences and security forces have carried out mass arrests and torture that harken back to the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.” Even the New York Times in an editorial said: “Egypt today is in many ways more repressive than it was during the darkest periods of the reign of deposed strongman Hosni Mubarak.”
 Yet even back in April US officials promised to ensure that some of the $1.5 million in aid to Egypt, most of it military, would be released including 10 Apache helicopter gunships to be used in operations in the Sinai against militants. In June, Secretary of State John Kerry also met with al-Sisi and US officials announced that $572 million in aid that had been frozen after the crackdown last October, has now been released.
 An Egyptian court recently dismissed all charges against previous president Hosni Mubarak. The charges involved the killing of 239 protesters in 2011. Mubarak's interior minister and six aides were also cleared. Mubarak was also cleared of two corruption charges. Although one charge was upheld it will not likely entail any more prison time. While Mubarak was cleared of charges a total of 188 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were found guilty and sentenced to death en masse for the killing of 11 police officers during an ant-Sisi protest. This is the third mass sentencing of hundreds in the last year. Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch said: “It is just one more piece of evidence that the judiciary is just a political tool the government uses to prosecute its enemies and free the people it wants to be freed,”
 Al-Sisi refused to condemn the dropping of charges against Mubarak. He said that Egypt should "look to the future" and "cannot ever go back" echoing President Obama's justifications for not prosecuting any of the torturers and others from the Bush era black site times.Obama had said that "we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards". No doubt Egypt can look forward to further repression and mass sentencing.
 During the Tahrir Square demonstrations, the US applauded the drive towards democracy even though they had for years supported Mubarak and even used his torturers to extract information for them on occasion. In March of 2009 Hillary Clinton said: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.” Perhaps if Hillary becomes US president, President Al-Sisi will become friends of her family. Expect that Al-Sisi will also be friends with Putin and even with Israel.

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