Congressmen Say Egypt Aid in Jeopardy
Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, leaders of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, told Foreign Policy Tuesday that withholding military aid to Egypt was now a real possibility due to the Egyptian military’s role in the late-December raids on several nongovernmental organizations operating in Egypt. “They should know that this action on their part jeopardizes a normal relationship between us,” Levin said. U.S. military aid to Egypt is “certainly a topic that [the Egyptians] have put on the table,” McCain added. Calls to withhold the promised aid intensified after a number of American employees of the U.S.-funded NGOs were barred from leaving the country last week. Freedom House President David Cramer wrote in the Hill’s Congress Blog that the U.S. State Department must not certify that Egypt met its required democratization conditions. Cramer argued that “this will trigger a suspension in American aid to Cairo, and only a clear and irreversible end to the campaign against civil society organizations, foreign as well as Egyptian, can lift this suspension.” Cramer noted that 400 Egyptian NGOs are also under investigation.
Similarly, the Global Post reported that a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders endorsed the ongoing investigation into foreign-funded NGOs. Brotherhood leaders also expressed support for the current so-called “NGO law,” which requires nonprofit groups to register with the ministry of social solidarity. “The NGO law is important for the country’s security,” said a member of the Brotherhood’s Supreme Committee in the Beni Suef governorate. This move disappointed pro-democracy advocates, who see the raids as an attack on civil society.