Senators on military aid to Egypt

 In Arms Sales and Military Aid, Current Affairs, Middle East

The Wall Street Journal has some very early responses to Mubarak’s departure from US Senators. One thing that jumps out in particular:

The next steps in Egypt will be closely watched by U.S. lawmakers, who each year provide about $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt and see the country as essential to a stable Middle East.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), who leads a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees such foreign aid, appeared to suggest that continued funding would depend on whether the military falls in line with the wishes of the Egyptian people.

“The army will be decisive,” Leahy said in a statement. “If it defends the popular will, it will earn its rightful place in history. If the army violates the public’s trust, it would also be a blow to our relations with Egypt and would put at risk our longstanding assistance.”

Even as jubilation continues in Egypt, it remains unclear what this transition will look like, and whether the military now in power will keep its promises of forging ahead with free and fair elections. Given the massive amounts of support the US has provided to the Egyptian military, it’ll be critical for US lawmakers to review  support contingent on how things unfold. According to press reports we’ve seen there are no Senators talking about an outright freeze, or talking enough about civil and human rights abuses, but they are dangling the aid carrot while making it clear it could go away.

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