Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives a speech outside the Supreme Council in Cairo .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A new study predicts small changes, but no overhaul, to US arms aid to Egypt as domestic support remains strong and Israel-backers in Congress support Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime.
In addition, countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are supporting the Egyptian government.
The study by Amy Hawthorne – a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East – was published on Monday and stated that “nearly a year after the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act [of 2014, which] includes democracy conditions on Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Egypt… $728 million of the $1.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 FMF for Egypt has not been released.”
The Appropriations Act passed after Sisi led a military coup of elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, but the Obama administration did not want to completely stop aid as required, said the study.
“Thus the 2014 law included special language exempting Egypt (and only Egypt) from the provisions of this clause, which mandates the immediate suspension of nearly all assistance to a central government following a military coup d’état, until a democratically-elected government is restored,” it said.
Hawthorne said that complexities and bureaucracy involved in military aid to Egypt were partly due to conflicting demands by groups in Congress and the US administration. One side wanted to continue supporting Egypt, and others were more concerned about promoting democracy.
Congress directs and conditions funds for FMF each year, and the US administration is then responsible for carrying out the program.
Three areas that are exempt from democracy certifications are “‘security’ assistance, sustainment of existing contracts, and provision of assistance that does not require delivery to Egypt.”
Hawthorne predicted that “continuing support from the defense industry and Egypt’s influential allies, as well as the sheer power of the status quo in a decades-long, deeply entrenched military aid relationship, portend incremental changes to the FMF program, rather than a dramatic overhaul.”