Executive Director Steven McInerney Quoted On Proposed Removal of Human Rights Conditions on U.S. Assistance to Egypt

In an article for CNN, POMED Executive Director Steven McInerney is quoted on the Obama administration’s efforts to waive human rights conditions on U.S. military assistance to Eqypt.

The administration’s call to formally omit human rights as a condition “is disappointing,” said Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy. “This is the worst period for human rights abuses, as well as the closure of political space, in Egypt’s modern history.”

The debate over Egypt’s aid reflects a long-standing tension between U.S. security interests in stable, friendly countries and the desire to promote core American values such as freedom of speech and of worship. That friction is particularly acute in the Middle East, where the Obama administration has shifted from idealism to realpolitik since the so-called Arab Spring has devolved into protracted, bloody conflict across the region.

In 2013, the administration suspended military aid to Egypt to push the new military regime to improve its democratic track record. That move came after months of internal administration debate over whether to label the military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi as a coup. This year, the administration is asking Congress to remove all human rights restrictions that apply to the $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Cairo.

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