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15.04.2017 - 08: 00

US - Egypt: the sad results of decades of subordination

Egypt's importance to US "national security interests" is determined by three factors: geography, demographics and consequent military capabilities, the weight and prestige in the Arab world. The most important thing - Egypt controls the Suez Canal, through which is held annually to 8% of all maritime traffic. Suez Canal accelerates the passage of ships of the US Navy, following from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf and back. T. e. This communication link provides connectivity US military fleets operating in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

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 memoranda attached to the Treaty of 1979 years Israel and Egypt, the United States set out their obligations in relation respectively to Israel and Egypt. Such a mechanism with 1980-ies did Israel and Egypt, the largest recipient of US military aid in the world. Meanwhile, the ratio of military aid to Israel and Egypt comes as 5: 2, t. e. Egypt receives US military aid in the amount of 40% of what Israel receives. Apparently, such a ratio determined by the fact that in case of a potential Arab-Israeli conflict to the military potential of Egypt Syria padded potential, Jordan and Iraq. However, the massive US military aid to Egypt after a certain period of time made it impossible for the participation of Egypt in the war against Israel. In the event of such a conflict, the United States will make the army of Egypt unfit for action after stop supplying spare parts and ammunition to American military technology, consisting on the Egyptian armed. Egypt itself is hardly ever used a few of their own national funds for US military equipment procurement.

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 a massive economic aid to Egypt it was extremely important for the country. In the 1979, the US economic assistance was approximately two-thirds of Egypt consumable budget. A large-scale program of the US economic assistance to help compensate for the loss of the isolation of Egypt in the Arab world after a deal with Israel. But after raising the level of Egypt's Congress began to reduce economic aid to both Egypt and Israel in connection with 10-year agreement reached between the United States and Israel at the end of 1990-ies, known as a "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, the president of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that in Egypt you must postpone the practice of "real democracy" to save "the current social consensus." In Egypt a year 1966 operates a parallel system of military justice. Constitution 2014 years cemented a military court as an independent judicial body. Then presidential decrees extended its jurisdiction. Military courts have become a major tool 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 "as it sees Egypt." Sisi tried to adopt a more balanced foreign policy without breaking relations with the United States to improve relations with Russia, France and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf - GCC group. Diversification of supply of arms for it is a way to get rid of the complete subordination to the United States. Since 2013, the Egyptian military, partially guaranteed by the GCC countries, increased spending on defense and signed contracts on arms supplies to France and Russia. The French bought the weapons on Egypt $ 9 billion, including the ill-fated "Mistral". With Russia - more than $ 3 billion. In the 2015, Egypt came to a deal with Russia to build nuclear plant in Dabaa on $ 25 billion.

In the end, the Obama administration after expressing dissatisfaction recognized the military coup in Egypt as a fait accompli, but under the pretext of these events tried to review some aspects of the US-Egyptian relations on the part of "aid". Due to the humanitarian problems in October 2013, the Obama administration announced that the US will suspend shipments to Egypt some of the already ordered weapons, such as aircraft F-16, Apache helicopters, missiles, Harpoon and M1A1 tanks, cancel already planned cash transfers for economic aid. Shortly after the expulsion of the Mursi President Obama canceled the regular joint military exercises the United States and Bright Star of Egypt.

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.

Egyptian authorities have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the actions of Obama. However, the US military cooperation with Egypt, in general, has been continued. In the spring of 2015 years after the series of terrorist attacks in Egypt some lawmakers urged the Obama administration to cancel the penalty measures against Egypt and resume the supply of arms in full. March 31 2015, after a telephone conversation between President Obama and President Sisi White House announced that the administration cancels the suspension of deliveries. At the same time, the White House at the same time said that the future military aid to Egypt would be largely "reformulated". With fiscal year 2018 US aid to Egypt will go into four categories: counter-terrorism, border security, security of Sinai, maritime safety and advantage - to maintain US weapons systems available to Egypt. To reorient the armed forces to "unconventional warfare", the Egyptian military necessity, by one estimate, a large investment in a rapid reaction force, sophisticated equipment of infantry weapons, optics and communications, with the support of extended observation and reconnaissance platforms. To transport them to Egypt also need numerous modern air assets.

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.

However, even taking into account these circumstances, it must be acknowledged that the Obama administration has conceived fundamentally change the direction of the military aid to Egypt without considering the fact that she 1979 years provides a balance of interests between Egypt and Israel. The US is going to "help" is not Egypt that Cairo considers necessary. And that Washington sees fit. This changes the US control mechanism for Egypt, without affecting the character of the military aid to Israel. Israel, as a whole, must be satisfied with such a prospect. Therefore, the main problem of US-Egyptian relations is whether 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.

Egyptians may request and increase US economic aid. Due to the global economic crisis and the subsequent events "Arab Spring", the situation in Egypt remains heavy. Revenues from tourism due to acts of terrorism have fallen significantly. The Egyptian government has to allocate significant resources to servicing the growing debt - in the corporate and public sectors around $ 270 billion sovereign debt - $ 61,5 billion. Interest payments on the debt account for a third of total public expenditure. Egyptian state debt reached 101% of its gross domestic product in the year 2016.

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.

In order to stabilize the public finances of Egypt has requested $ 12 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for three years. IMF loan to Egypt led the implementation of economic reforms. In the early 2017, Parliament approved the IMF recommended the government plan of economic reforms, including the introduction of value added tax (VAT). According to the request of the IMF, Egypt introduced a floating exchange rate since November 2016 years, which has led to a surge in inflation, which in a few months has increased by 2017 30,2% in February year. Following the recipes of the IMF, Egypt introduced a value added tax (VAT), has cut public wages and reduced energy subsidies.

According to expert forecasts, the GDP growth in Egypt 2017 year is likely to reach 3,9%, which is below the required parameters in order to reduce unemployment. Egyptian youth unemployment now stands at 34,3%. In this case, the median age of the population of Egypt - this year 24,7. Thus, half of the approaching 100-million mark Egypt's population - are young people. Such demographic indicators at the prevailing crisis situation indicate either the war or the bloody revolution in Middle Eastern recipes in the economy. In this perspective, Egypt in the Middle East remains one of the points of crisis, despite or due 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