With the recent news that president Obama has lifted the freeze on sending weapons to Egypt and authorized the selling of $1.3 billion worth of military hardware, we see that the US relationship with that nation has come full circle.
The US had long supported authoritarian military dictators like Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak who ruled harshly, cracking down on dissent and racking up huge margins of victory in phony elections. Of course, there was periodic tut-tutting about the need for Egypt’s leaders to improve human rights in that country but that was clearly window dressing because it did not affect in the least the practical relationship with Egypt in terms of aid and the supply of military hardware, which is always the key measure of the US relationship with other nations.
The Arab spring that deposed Mubarak (whom Hillary Clinton referred to as a friend of her family) sent that relationship into a tailspin as there was for a while leadership in that country that was not completely subservient to US interests.
But not to worry, all is well again. Egypt now has a new authoritarian military leader who is once again cracking down on civil liberties and any opposition, jailing journalists, prosecuting LGBT citizens, ordering the mass execution of protestors, committing torture, and persecuting opposition figures while racking up a huge majority in elections. The current Egyptian despot Abdelfattah al-Sisi, a military officer who staged a coup in 2013, ‘won’ the 2014 presidential elections with 97% of the vote after banning the major opposition party from taking part.
Of course, the US government will, in response to each new atrocity, make some statement of concern and appeal for more freedom and democracy and civil rights but those will be accompanied with the usual winks and nods to assure al-Sisi that this is just for public relations purposes and he should not really worry himself about it.
So in short, happy days are here again.