Back to the future in Egypt

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.


  1. says

    Morsi was democratically elected. But because he was an “islamist” we ought to wonder what the CIA was doing to whip up … oh, look:

    (Before you balk at the fact that Al Jazeera is the source, it’s actually an Al Jazeera report/summary of US sources including UC Berkeley)

    Documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley show the US channeled funding through a State Department programme to promote democracy in the Middle East region. This programme vigorously supported activists and politicians who have fomented unrest in Egypt, after autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February 2011.

    The State Department’s programme, dubbed by US officials as a “democracy assistance” initiative, is part of a wider Obama administration effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists, and to win back influence in Arab Spring countries that saw the rise of Islamists, who largely oppose US interests in the Middle East.

    Activists bankrolled by the programme include an exiled Egyptian police officer who plotted the violent overthrow of the Morsi government, an anti-Islamist politician who advocated closing mosques and dragging preachers out by force, as well as a coterie of opposition politicians who pushed for the ouster of the country’s first democratically elected leader, government documents show.


    The US is the greatest suppressor of democracy in the world. In most countries there’s an anti-democratic dictator. Whereas in the US, there’s a managed democracy that exports and supports anti-democratic dictators. Go USA! (spit)

  2. Who Cares says

    This is actually a result of domestic politics.
    Since Obama committed himself to the (partial) retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq effectively chucked out the U.S. army he had to mollify the corporations & people who stop(ped) making money from supplying the U.S. army in those areas.
    And he has been doing so by increasing the amount of arms sales to the rest of the world.

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