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US military aid to Egypt conditioned on human rights, not subject to national security waiver, increases $75m

June 30, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Egyptian security forces on 28 November 2014 [Amr Sayed/ApaImages]

US security aid conditioned on human rights, which does not have a national security waiver, has increased to $150 million, up from $75 million.

On Monday the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee released its FY22 foreign aid funding bill before its mark-up, which was published on Twitter by the director of The Freedom Initiative, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED).

In a thread, Seth Binder points out that the $1.3 billion of military aid for Egypt will be provided by the bill and that it rejects requests not to include human rights conditions.

Of the aid, $300 million will be conditioned on human rights with $150 million of this having a national security waiver. For this portion of the money, one new condition is that the Egyptian government must take steps to “prevent the intimidation and harassment of American citizens.”

For the $150 million without a national security waiver, $135 million is conditioned on “releasing political prisoners and providing detainees with due process.”

READ: Egypt approves draft bill enabling employers to sack Muslim Brotherhood affiliates

The remaining $15 million is conditioned on fair compensation for April Corley, the professional roller skater who has asked Egypt for compensation following an attack by the Egyptian armed forces when she was part of a tour group in Egypt’s Western Desert.

The amount of aid conditioned on human rights and not subject to a national security waiver was $75 million in FY21 and $0 in FY20, according to Middle East Carnegie Director Michele Dunne.

The subject of American military aid to Egypt has been the centre of a debate among human rights activists who have asked why the US is giving so much money to a country which has become one of the most repressive in the world.

The Egyptian regime has arrested, tortured and disappeared the families of US-Egyptians Mohamed Soltan and Aly HussinMahdy.

In April, 14 human rights organisations wrote a letter to the US government calling on it not to use a national security waiver to clear military aid to Egypt.

Former US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have issued national security waivers to bypass conditions imposed by the US Congress on military aid to Egypt.

US President Joe Biden requested that the full amount be sent to Egypt, which undermined his presidential campaign last year, when he promised there would be no more blank cheques for Trump’s ‘favourite dictator’ and that he would put human rights at the centre of their relationship.