POMED Executive Director Stephen McInerney suggests decreased spending levels for democracy and governance programs in Egypt send the wrong message from the Obama administration.
More than a year after the election of Barack Obama as president of the US, supporters of political reform and human rights in the Arab world are still trying to discern his administration’s approach toward democracy in the region. In many respects, Obama’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2011, recently submitted to the US Congress, does suggest a commitment to democracy and good governance. But shifts in his administration’s approach toward one of the most important countries in the region – Egypt – has also sent worrying signals to advocates of reform.
This comes at a critical moment in Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak’s recent surgery and hospitalization in Germany has awoken many Egyptians to the very real possibility of an imminent leadership change. These health concerns, along with the recent return to Egypt and potential candidacy of the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, have sparked serious domestic debates over the future of the government.
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