Egyptian Human Rights Record Becomes US Political Territory
Despite US President Joe Biden’s apparent intention to send a strong message to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi that his human rights abuses are unacceptable to a vibrant American-Egyptian alliance, the blowback the US president is experiencing is coming from his own side of the aisle. The administration has just announced that it is withholding some $130 million in promised aid to Egypt in recognition of its continued incarceration and abuse of more than 60,000 political dissenters, disagreeing NGOs and critical journalists. At issue is a $300 million waiver for military expenses from which $170 million in security-related expenses will be allowed to flow with the remaining funding frozen. Democratic criticism is being led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) who argued that such a minor change to the overall aid package “sends the wrong message.” The Democrat’s Egypt Human Rights Caucus criticized President Biden, saying the intent of Congress was to withhold all $300 million unless el-Sisi releases his abusive grip.