Go to Publicity
«Back to news

News

15.04.2017 - 08: 00

US - Egypt: the sad results of decades of subordination

The importance of Egypt for the "national security interests" of the United States is determined by three factors: geography, demographic and the resulting military potential, weight and authority in the Arab world. Most importantly, Egypt controls the Suez Canal, through which up to 8% of all sea transportations pass annually. The Suez Canal accelerates the passage of ships of American naval forces following from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf and back. That is, this communication line provides the connectivity of the US military fleets operating in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean.

Egypt, with its population of 94,6 million is the most populous Arab country with potentially the largest of the Arab armies in the region aimed against Israel.

Because of its cultural potential of Islamic Egypt has a "soft power" in the Arab world and wider - the world of Islam. In Cairo, is located the headquarters of the Arab League. Cairo Al-Azhar University is the oldest continuously operating Islamic institution of higher learning.

A separate peace treaty with Egypt, Israel 1979 years remains one of the most significant US diplomatic achievements of the legitimation of its ally - Israel in the region. To involve Egypt in alliance with the United States, the Americans used the mechanism of the annual economic and military aid. Since 1946 2016 of the year the United States provided Egypt foreign aid amounting to $ 77,4 billion (unadjusted for inflation). This amount includes US military aid to Egypt.

US military aid to Egypt is going to finance the procurement of US weapons systems and payment services required US military contractors. The most interesting - is that US aid, albeit in small amounts, it provided Americans annually since 1946 years, and at times when Egypt was considered allies of the Soviet Union.

Egypt's military aid was first granted in the amount of US $ 1,5 1979 million in the year -.. Ie, in the year the Camp David Accords with Israel in Egypt. And in 1981 year it amounted to $ 550 million, and in 1982 - $ 900 million, 1983 -. $ 1,365 billion Since 1983, the annual military aid Americans Egypt is $ 1,3 billion total since 1979 on 2013 years, the United States had military aid to Egypt. in the amount of $ 41,8 billion. Thus, the military aid in the overall balance of US aid to Egypt more than economic.

US foreign aid to Egypt, as well as any other foreign state authorized by the US Congress. Externally, the "ideology" of aid to Egypt is as follows: the United States to broker a peace settlement between Israel and Egypt, so the United States is providing military assistance to both countries to ensure regional balance of power and to maintain security cooperation with both countries. This is a key principle of the policy of military aid to Egypt.

In two separate memorandums attached to the 1979 peace treaty of the year of Israel and Egypt, the United States set out its obligations with respect to Israel and Egypt respectively. Such a mechanism since 1980-ies made Israel and Egypt the largest recipients of US military aid in the world. Meanwhile, the ratio of military aid to Israel and Egypt goes, like 5: 2, ie Egypt receives US military aid in the amount of 40% of what Israel receives. Apparently, such a ratio was determined by the fact that in the event of a potential Arab-Israeli military conflict, the potential of Egypt was punctuated by the potential of Syria, Jordan and Iraq. However, massive US military aid to Egypt over a period of time made it impossible for Egypt to participate in the war against Israel. In the event of such a conflict, the US will simply make Egypt's incompetent army after it stops supplying spare parts and ammunition to US military equipment that is in service with Egypt. Egypt itself almost does not use a few of its own national funds for the purchase of US military equipment.

Egypt receives the bulk of US military and economic assistance through three main channels: Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds and economic support (ESF). In addition to Egypt, as "a major ally, not a member of NATO", still applies Excess Defense Article (EDA). This status is Egypt - the first Arab country received in 1989, together with Israel.

It should be understood that the US military aid to the Egyptians is not in the form of cash transfers. The Egyptians did not see any live US dollar allocated to them for military assistance. FMF - this grant program. Egypt is one of the main recipients of FMF. Program with relevant appropriations are managed by the State Department, but are carried out by the US Department of Defense.

Most of the countries receiving the FMF, tend to buy goods and services under contracts between governments, known as the Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Military sales can not go without Congressional approval. Congress authorizes the sale of military equipment or weapons in the amount of $ 14 million and military services by $ 50 million, services in design and construction of the $ 200 million. In addition, the United States offer training for IMET programs Egyptian officers to assist the US-Egyptian military cooperation in the long term.

At the present time between the United States and Egypt, there is no bilateral agreement on the general level of economic assistance. American economic aid to Egypt is divided into two components: a program operated by USAID (health, education, economic development, democracy, governance and political competition), and the program fund to support small and medium businesses.

At the initial stage of massive economic aid to Egypt, it was extremely important for this country. In 1979, US economic assistance was equivalent to about two thirds of Egypt's expenditure budget. A large-scale program of economic assistance to the US helped offset losses from the isolation of Egypt in the Arab world after the deal with Israel. But after raising the level of Egypt, Congress began to reduce economic aid to both Egypt and Israel in connection with the 10-year agreement reached between the United States and Israel at the end of the 1990, known as the "Glide path".

Under PresidentW. BushEgypt has not received the coveted him for a free trade agreement with the United States. You can notice the main line of US policy in the region in this area. US not interested in free trade agreements with major countries. Instead, in 1996, Congress authorized the creation of t. N. Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) for eligibility for the joint production of goods Israel or Jordan or Egypt for duty-free import them into the United States.

***

After the overthrow in 1952, the British-backed king in Egypt established to carry out modernization of military authoritarian regime. Total for this period in Egypt had five presidents:Gamal Abdel Nasser(1954-1970),Anwar Sadat(1970-1981),Hosni Mubarak(1981-2011),Mohammed Mursi(2012-2013) andAbdel Fattah al-Sisi(With 2013 year to date). The only significant opposition to military regime for decades was an underground organization of the Egyptian "Muslim Brotherhood." Last played for the state, in which will be based not only borrowed from the West to the civil law, but also the traditional sharia. That is, the "Muslim Brothers" name is about to what is observed in the conservative monarchies of the Persian Gulf.

In the 2011 year as a result of street unrest heavy blow was dealt to the military regime. US urged its longtime regional ally Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down in the face of riots. In the US, announced that"I held a historic transition to democracy in Egypt, and this transition will have a profound impact on the political future of Egypt, the Middle East and North Africa. US authorities support the successful transition of Egypt towards democracy and economic stability ". However, neither democracy nor economic stability in the end did not happen. "Muslim Brotherhood" came the overthrow of Mubarak in power in Egypt. Their representative - Mohammed Morsi was elected president of the country. Islamist revolution in Egypt, unleashed a wave of previously artificially suppressed the country's anti-Americanism and hostility toward Israel. The peak of the anti-American protests became 11 September 2012, when near the US Embassy in Cairo held mass demonstration guided by the Salafis, and in neighboring Libya in Benghazi, was killed the US ambassadorKristofer Stivensand three other Americans.

July 3 2013 years again after the street protests Egyptian military overthrew Morsi and fully regained state control. "Muslim Brotherhood" and their supporters declared the military's coup and were on the streets. Egypt's military and the police brutally suppressed street protests, killing at least 1150 demonstrators. In the 2013, the "Muslim Brotherhood" were banned and their legal branch - Freedom and Justice Party was disbanded in 2014 year. In the election, she received 2012 45% of all seats in the lower house of the Egyptian Parliament.

Elected in 2014 by President General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that in Egypt it is necessary to postpone the practice of "real democracy" in order to preserve the "current social consensus". In Egypt, since 1966, there is a parallel system of military justice. The Constitution of the year 2014 fixed the military court as an independent judicial body. Then presidential decrees expanded his jurisdiction. Military courts have become the main instrument of repression against opponents of the military regime. In domestic policy, President Sisi seeks to moderate the influence of the Islamic opposition by promoting moderate religious discourse.

President Sisi said that Egypt would pursue an independent foreign policy aimed at ensuring security in the Arab world "the way Egypt sees it." Sisi tried to adopt a more balanced foreign policy, not breaking relations with the US, to establish relations with Russia, France and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf - the group of the GCC. Diversification of arms shipments for him is a way to free himself from full submission to the United States. Since 2013, the Egyptian military, partly under the guarantees of the GCC countries, increased defense spending and signed contracts for arms sales with France and Russia. The French bought Egypt weapons for $ 9 billion, including the ill-fated "Mistrals." With Russia - for more than $ 3 billion. In 2015, Egypt entered into a deal with Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa for $ 25 billion.

Ultimately, the Obama administration, after expressing dissatisfaction, recognized the military coup in Egypt as a fait accompli, but on the pretext of these events tried to reconsider some aspects of US-Egyptian relations in terms of "help." Because of humanitarian problems, the Obama administration announced in October that the US would suspend supplies to Egypt of some of the already ordered weapons, for example, F-2013 aircraft, Apache helicopters, Harpoon missiles and M16A1 tanks, and cancel already planned financial transfers for economic assistance. Shortly after the expulsion of Mursi, President Obama abolished the regular joint military exercises of the United States and Egypt, Bright Star.

The US State Department has accused the Egyptian government of serious human rights violations against a broad spectrum of political opponents, both secular and Islamist. According to reports by the US State Department on human rights for the year 2016, the most significant challenges in the field of human rights in Egypt are: excessive use of force by security forces, including torture and murder, disadvantages due process of law and suppression of civil liberties.

The Egyptian authorities repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the actions of Obama. However, the US military cooperation with Egypt, in general, was continued. In the spring of 2015 year after a series of terrorist acts in Egypt, some congressmen called on the Obama administration to abolish the penal measures against Egypt and to resume arms shipments in full. 31 March 2015, after a telephone conversation between President Obama and President Sisi, the White House announced that the administration cancels the suspension of deliveries. At the same time, the White House concurrently stated that future military assistance to Egypt would be largely "reformulated". Since 2018 fiscal year, the US assistance to Egypt will go in four categories: counterterrorism, border security, Sinai security, maritime security and plus - to maintain American weapons systems available to Egypt. In order to reorient the military forces to "unconventional military actions," the Egyptian military needs, according to one estimate, large investments in rapid reaction forces, the provision of sophisticated infantry weapons, optics and communications equipment, supported by expanded observation and reconnaissance platforms. To transport them, Egypt also needs numerous modern aircraft means.

For the future "anti-terrorist sharpening" of the armed forces of Egypt, there is a certain reason. One of the biggest areas of concern for regional stability for the past few years is the Sinai Peninsula, where the radical local Bedouins, foreign and Palestinian militants from neighboring Gaza created a terrorist cell targeting, as in Egypt and Israel. "Ansar Bayt" operating in the Sinai group emerged after the Egyptian revolution 2011 years, and bound themselves with an "Islamic state"(LIH - a terrorist organization banned in Russia - ed.)in 2014 year. Since that time, she got another name "Vilayet Sinai." Its population according to various estimates ranging from 500 to 1000 militants. In February 2017 years this organization has killed several Coptic Christians in the Sinai Al Arish, forcing hundreds of families to flee the city. Egyptian branch of LIH responsible for other acts of terrorism against the Egyptian Coptic Christians, who make up 8,5% of the population. Egypt imposed a state of emergency in northern Sinai. Sinai residents forbidden to enter the civil and military service.

Nevertheless, even with these circumstances in mind, the Obama administration has decided to fundamentally change the direction of military aid to Egypt without taking into account the fact that it has provided a balance of interests between Egypt and Israel since 1979. The US is going to "help" Egypt not in what it considers to be Cairo. And in that he considers it necessary Washington. This changes the mechanism of US control over Egypt, without affecting the nature of military assistance to Israel. Israel, in general, should be satisfied with such a prospect. Therefore, the main problem of US-Egyptian relations is whether under the new presidentDonald TrumpObama changed the scheduled maintenance of US military aid to Egypt.

On 2017 year, President Obama asked Congress to allocate $ 1,3 billion in military and $ 150 million economic aid to Egypt. Military assistance was provided. However, the US Senate has reduced the amount of economic aid to Egypt doubled to $ 75 million and caused her to provide proof from the State Department that Egypt take effective steps towards democracy and good governance.

Elected in 2014, the new Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has high hopes for the improvement of bilateral relations with the United States through cooperation with the new presidential administration Trump. During the campaign, the future president of Trump decried Obama's approach to bilateral relations with Egypt and promised to review the policy.

Egypt's economy in the wake of the global crisis and domestic disturbances remains weak. Al-Sisi government is facing serious financial problems, escalating campaign of terror by Islamic radicals and terror against them.

Sisi would resume large-scale sales of US military equipment to Egypt on the basis of established practice, an increase in economic assistance and formal US recognition banned in Egypt, "Muslim Brotherhood" as a terrorist organization. The Egyptian authorities continue to accuse them of rampant terrorist attacks in Egypt.

The main interest of the Israeli lobby in the administration Trump: the United States would like to see Egypt to continue to play a more active role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. In advance by going to meet these wishes, Sissi and King of JordanAbdullahThey endorsed the idea of ​​a regional peace initiative on the secret summit in February 2016 years.

Improving US relations with Egypt at Trump began in late February 2017, when the commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM)Joseph L. Votelvisited Egypt and promised to resume Bright Star operation - multinational exercises, every two years jointly conducted by the United States and Egypt. Officially, the exercises help to strengthen the interoperability of the American and Egyptian forces. The latter doctrine was held in October 2009 years.

Since November 2016, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of EgyptSameh Shurukthree visits to Washington. January 23 2017, the US president Donald Trump called President Sisi, and the two leaders were reported to have discussed the improvement of bilateral relations. In early April 2017, in Washington had a private meeting with US President Trump Egyptian President Sisi. The leaders agreed to hold a regional conference on the United States to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this summer.

Israeli-Egyptian relations have improved markedly since the coup 2013 years. Israelis have expressed significant concerns about the long-term prospects for the Islamization of Egypt. Their relationship with the Egyptian military not without difficulties, but both sides are in regular dialogue on defense and intelligence matters.

The Egyptians can also request increases in US economic assistance. Because of the global economic crisis and the subsequent events of the "Arab Spring", Egypt's position remains grave. The income from tourism due to acts of terrorism has significantly decreased. The Egyptian government is forced to allocate significant resources to service growing debt - in the corporate and public sectors about $ 270 billion, sovereign debt - $ 61,5 billion. Interest payments on debt account for one third of total public expenditure. Egypt's public debt reached 101% of its gross domestic product in 2016 year.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have provided financial aid for the restoration of the power of the military in this country. Since 2011, the GCC countries have provided financial aid and fuel shipments to Egypt totaling $ 30 billion.

To stabilize public finances, Egypt has requested $ 12 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for three years. The IMF determined the granting of a loan to Egypt by the implementation of economic reforms. At the beginning of the year 2017, the parliament approved the IMF's recommended economic reform plan, including the introduction of value-added tax (VAT). At the request of the IMF, Egypt since November 2016 introduced a floating exchange rate of the national currency, which led to a surge in inflation, which increased by 2017% in February to 30,2 in February. Following IMF prescriptions, Egypt introduced value-added tax (VAT), cut government salaries and reduced energy subsidies.

According to expert forecasts, Egypt's GDP growth in 2017 is likely to reach 3,9%, which is below the required indicators to reduce unemployment. Unemployment among Egyptian youth is now 34,3%. At the same time, the median age of the Egyptian population is 24,7. Thus, half of the approaching population of Egypt's 100-million mark is young people. Such demographic indicators in the current crisis situation in the economy indicate either a war or a bloody revolution in Middle Eastern recipes. In this perspective, Egypt in the Middle East remains one of the most critical points, despite or thanks to decades of close cooperation with the United States.

A source: EADaily

Tags: Egypt, United States, Politics, International Relations, Middle East, analysts, Israel's economy