USG Outlines New Egypt Aid Initiatives
Earlier this week, the U.S. government announced new aid packages to Egypt that target “Egyptian priorities such as inclusive economic growth, job creation, rights and participation, and accountable and effective government.” The efforts include the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund for small and medium enterprises (SME), which includes ”a program to provide $250 million in financing to mobilize Egyptian bank lending to SMEs,” as well as extensive debt relief. Michael J. Totten suggests that, due to Egypt’s recent behavior toward the American government, any aid slated to be given to Egypt should instead be redirected to Libya.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian finance ministry sold over 6 billion pounds ($984 million) of one-year securities, after aid assurances from Turkey and Qatar have reportedly re-energized foreign investors. Additionally, numerous political party leaders, including those from the Popular Current and Socialist Popular alliances and the Constitution, Ghad al-Thawra, Wafd and Egyptian Social Democratic parties, discussed the possibility of coordinating their stances on the Constituent Assembly to push back against Islamist momentum.
Finally, Jason Brownlee writes, “When the present campaign season is over, the Obama (or Romney) administration and Congress will need to begin addressing Egypt not simply as an ally or a friend, but as an equal.” William Booth examines the differences in two Egyptian free speech cases: that of blogger Alber Saber, who is charged with ridiculing religion and has been imprisoned, and Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah, who tore up a copy of a Bible but remains free during his legal proceedings. Greg Aftandilian analyzes Morsi’s U.N. speech, saying he “tried to show that he is an independent political figure, not beholden to the United States, but his positions did not signal any radical break from the past.”