Egypt: A Passive Approach

By: Hashim Arain

Over the past week or so, the country of Egypt has been spiraling out of control, with violence happening almost every day. This all started when the Egyptian people went out on the streets to protest yet again, but this time about their first democratically elected government. Former president Mohamed Morsi was heavily criticized for some of the actions that he was implementing. For example, according to the Washington Post, during his presidency, Morsi had granted himself unlimited powers and was able to enforce those powers without judicial review from the courts.

egypt photo 8:26:13The Washington Post goes on to report that a majority of Egyptians started protesting the Morsi government last December to voice their concerns over the overreaching of the government and the elimination of the Egyptian assembly and their house of Parliament. It was only until the last couple months that the protests started to escalate into large crowds of people, which eventually led to the overthrow of the Morsi government by the Egyptian military.

Ever since the military has taken control of the country, violence has been happening almost every day between Morsi supporters and members of the military.  Most of the Morsi supporters are upset that their now former president was swept out of office and still protest that he should be reinstated into power, but that has been met with severe violence and bloodshed. The Morsi government was overthrown by the military general Abdul Fateh Al Sisi. Ever since Sisi took over control of the country, it has been disastrous.

Since the violence in Egypt escalates as the days go by, the international community has been deciding whether or not to continue to send economic aid to Egypt. One of the countries that has been wrestling with this decision is the United States.

According to NPR, some reports in the last day or so suggesting that the Obama Administration temporarily halted aid to Egypt prompted the White House to come out and say that they are still reviewing whether or not to provide assistance to the country. NPR also reports that White House cabinet officials were to hold a meeting to discuss whether or not to continue sending economic aid to Egypt. The reason that this is an important decision is because according to the Guardian, the U.S. sends 1.3 billion in aid to Egypt every year.

I believe that the U.S. should cut off all aid to Egypt until the situation eventually calms down. The U.S. government should not be giving money to a military that has been creating chaos ever since it took power. With cutting off aid, the U.S. would be sending a strong message to the Egyptian military that they do not accept the military’s abuse of power.

The U.S. has always been passive and cautious when dealing with recent Middle East crises, which is why I’m worried whether the U.S. will make the right decision when it comes to continuing aid. According to the Guardian, it is not just the U.S. who has been passive in responding to this crisis, it is the international community as a whole. These countries need to put their foot down and send a message to the Egyptian military that they will not tolerate the actions that they are taking, but in order to do that, the U.S. needs to take the lead on this. Hopefully, in the coming days, it will.