Deputy Director Cole Bockenfeld Quoted on Conditioning Aid to Egypt

In an article for the Intercept, POMED Deputy Director for Policy Cole Bockenfeld is quoted on the budget request for Fiscal Year 2017 and the Obama administration’s intent to ease restrictions on aid to Egypt.

Under current law, 15 percent of aid to Egypt is subject to being withheld based on human rights conditions — although even that can be waived if it is deemed to be in the national security interest of the United States, as it was last year.

Cole Bockenfeld, deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy, says the administration probably doesn’t want to go to the trouble of justifying its waiver this year. “They had to basically do an assessment. … Here’s how they’re doing on political prisoners, here’s how they’re doing on freedom of assembly, and so on,” Bockenfeld explains. Last year’s report “infuriated the Egyptians … it was a pretty honest assessment of how things had deteriorated in Egypt.”

The assessment, for instance, took the Egyptians to task for the “impunity” their security forces operate under and restrictions on due process.

“I think what they’re trying to do is avoid a repeat of that scenario,” concludes Bockenfeld. “Because that upset the Egyptians as much as it did, we’d rather handle those things privately.”

To read the full article, click here. >>