Biden Withholds Fantastic Amount of Funds To Egypt's Military

Biden Withholds Fantastic Amount of Funds To Egypt's Military

 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has determined that Cairo, by releasing hundreds of imprisoned people, has made some progress in political detention and due process, officials said. The administration of US President Joe Biden has decided to withhold $130 million in foreign military aid to Egypt for its failure to meet human rights requirements. It was mentioned by US officials on Wednesday, but allowed some funds to be disbursed because of its determination that Cairo had made progress on political containment. 

Rights groups cite widespread human rights abuses under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's rule including torture and enforced disappearances. Rights groups have been pushing to withhold all portions of $300 million in aid to Egypt placed under US Congressional terms. Washington allowed $75 million to be released into Egypt, citing progress related to political detention and due process, including the release of some 500 political prisoners this year. The aid that Blinken has decided to withhold accounts for 10% of the $1.3 billion allocated to Egypt annually.

 An official said State Department lawyers determined that 10% was the maximum amount that could be withheld this year. "The approach taken here reflects the government's concerns about human rights and fundamental freedoms in Egypt, while also seeking to maintain the engagement and dialogue we have had over the past 20 months," one senior State Department official told reporters. Cairo will receive another $95 million under statutory exceptions related to counterterrorism, border security, and non-proliferation funding, State Department officials said. 

Seth Binder, advocacy director at the Middle East Democracy Project, a US-based campaign group, said US claims that Egypt had made progress were refuted by the continued detention of political prisoners. "We have been very clear with the Egyptian government at every level about the necessary actions and steps to strengthen our relationship." "While withholding funds sends a message to al-Sisi that his failure to address US human rights concerns will have a real impact on relations, illegitimately declaring progress where no one is confounding that message," Binder said. US officials say relations with Egypt are complicated. The Arab world's most populous nation is an important ally and Washington is still committed to supporting it for its "legitimate defense needs."

Analysts say Western powers are reluctant to take serious action against a strategic ally who has been a mediator in longstanding issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, and who controls the Suez Canal, one of the world's most valuable shipping lanes. Sisi denies there are political prisoners in Egypt. He said stability and security were paramount and authorities were promoting rights by trying to provide basic needs such as work and housing.

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