Washington, Cairo, and the love of money


The U.S. canceled Egypt a part of the annual grants. The reasons are unclear. The decision has triggered a debate on the situation of human rights in Egypt.

Trumps consultant, Jared Kushner, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi

For several days, the relationship between Washington and Cairo was tense, but then the office of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to make it clear: US President Donals Trump had just got off the phone with the Egyptian head of state. In the interview, Trump had once again underlined how strong the friendship between the two countries. He, Trump, is intended to develop this relationship further and in this way, “all the obstacles out of the way”.

In Washington, you do not want to confirm the conversation directly. However, it has not been denied. And so it seems, as the glided Egyptian-American relations is now back in calmer waters.

A commotion in the middle of the week had taken care of the message that the United States would cut this year’s military aid to Egypt, in part, to pay off part at a later date. There was talk of a reduction of 95.7 million dollars, and a further 195 million, which would go later to the receiver. The reason news agencies reported, be able to the dissatisfaction in Washington with the human rights and democratic Standards in Egypt. The government in Cairo has not made any progress.

On the decision, the Egyptian government had responded with sharp words: it is based on a “misunderstanding of the nature of the strategic relations between the two countries for decades to each other,” it said in a statement.

Common interests, such as in the security policy: the USS George Bush in the Suez canal

“Disoriented” Trump Administration?

For the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly, Ezzat Ibrahim, indicates the step on a “disorientation” within the Trump Administration. Behind it is a against Egypt directed to the Alliance, the former US correspondent of the sheet explains. The decision was in the context of a series of foreign policy problems of the Trump government. In terms of the relationship to Egypt, some “hawks” in Congress were trying their political will to enforce. A proof for his suspicions, he sees the refusal of the Congress, the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood as a terrorist group.

For the at the University of Harvard teaching middle East historian Khaled Fahmy, the decision of the U.S. return-government the situation of human rights in Egypt, especially in Washington, circulating evaluation, “that all the allegations made by the government, the country return to stability”. The decision was a message, Fahmy: “The Americans are giving to the Egyptians to understand that it is ordered to the human rights is very bad and you are not able to tolerate this Situation.”

Criticism from human rights organizations

International human rights organisations accuse the Egyptian government of attempting to bring all the opposition groups to Silence and wants to eliminate the freedom of opinion. American politicians were upset, as al-Sisi in may a law was signed that regulates the activities of non-governmental organizations.

Human rights groups complained massively. The law hinders their work as well as the auxiliary organizations. The Reuters news Agency reported, prior to the adoption of the law, Egyptian officials have explained to their American counterparts, this will not come into force.

Difficult dialogue: Jared Kushner and the Egyptian foreign Minister, Samih Schukri

It is unclear whether the in may, law has contributed to the fact that the US cut aid to Egypt now. He can see in the current decision is no indication of a fundamental break between the United States and Egypt, says American expert, Ezzat Ibrahim. “Both countries maintain strategic relationships to each other. This is especially true since trump’s office, and the Islamic-American summit in Riyadh.” The relationships were based on many motifs – such as the war on Terror, and common security interests. Khaled Fahmy assesses the decision is different: you emphasize the U.S. state Department, the importance of human rights.

Kushner in Egypt

For whatever reasons you like it to be: The decision pushed the American-Egyptian relations their stamp on. In the middle of the week, the Egyptian foreign Minister, Samih Schukri met with one of trump’s advisors Jared Kushner-led Delegation. First of all, it was said, Schukri does not want to receive Kushner because of the reduction of the grants. But then the two met and demonstrated Unity. Both stressed the importance of continued consultations and coordination between the two countries. This promotes the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and bring the negotiators back to the table.

On the table of political dispute, and discrete transactions: a government-critical Graffito in Giza

Enemy Forces?

The decision has also triggered a discussion on the situation of human rights in Egypt. Some of the research institutes in Washington “over the top” in the presentation of the Situation in Egypt, says Ezzat Ibrahim in an interview with DW. The decision to cut the aid, go back to the operation of a “Alliance”. “This includes some of the senators and think tanks such as the Carnegie Center, the Brookings Institution, as well as lobbyists from Qatar and Turkey.” The American foreign Minister, Ibrahim, care since his time as President of Exxon Mobil’s “strong” relations with Qatar.

This attitude is criticised Khalid Fahmy. “The inclination of the government to see behind all the problems in the country of Qatar, is a proof of the weakness of the Egyptian foreign policy.” This trend he thinks is not acceptable: “Therefore gives way to the reality and distracts from the bad Situation of human rights in Egypt.”