By Staff Writer
The Joe Biden administration has sought to block $130 million of a possible $300 million in congressionally tied aid to Egypt’s Abdul Fattah El Sisi regime.
Washington will also provide an additional $1 billion in military aid to the country, and in February, concluded a deal to provide Cairo with over $200 million in military hardware. This aid has allowed the Egyptian regime to strengthen and entrench itself despite the extrajudicial killings of over 700 opposition figures since 2013, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Over 60 thousand political figures also languish in Egyptian prisons.
Washington’s belief that the regime is pivotal in America’s regional strategy at the heart of Biden’s change.
Sisi brokered a deal between Israel and Hamas in May; Israel continues to lobby for closer US-Egypt relations due to Sisi’s closeness to Tel Aviv. Sisi most recently met Israel’s new Prime Minister, Neftali Bennett, on the 13 September, in the resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, the first heads of state meeting between the two countries in over a decade.
In response to requests for comment by Middle East Eye, the US State Department stated that “The President and Egyptian President Sisi share a commitment to a strong and productive US-Egypt partnership. The Biden-Harris Administration supports further strengthening the bilateral relationship between the United States and Egypt alongside tangible and lasting improvements in human rights. Our approach reflects both our values and our interests.”
The administration has linked the release of the remaining $130 million to freeing 16 Americans imprisoned in Egypt and fulfilling some undefined human rights conditions. This is less than the $195 million that was suspended for a year by the former Donald Trump administration in 2017.
Further, a further $170 million was provided for “counter-terrorism” and “border security activities”, which the regime in Cairo frequently argues includes the Muslim Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, Human Rights agencies have reported over 700 extrajudicial killings by the regime since 2014; many made to look like shoot-outs.
Further, around 90 political prisoners have been hanged, and another 60, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed ElBeltagi, are at risk of eminent excision. Political freedoms are curtailed, and over 60 thousand political figures, many from the Muslim Brotherhood, have been imprisoned by the regime.
Information Al-Jazeera, Middle East Eye, The New Arab, Politico, The Washington Post, and Human Rights Watch