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End blank checks to Egypt’s military

The Arab Spring wrought a tentative new covenant between the Egyptian people and their military leaders.

As Congress is completing work on the annual foreign assistance funding bill, a key issue now is how to recalibrate the terms of U.S. military aid to Egypt. The answer is clear: We should support the goals advanced by the Egyptian people and accepted by their military leaders.

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d758d get flash player End blank checks to Egypts military

U.S. military aid to Egypt should be conditioned on the holding of free and fair elections; an end of the abuse of emergency rule; and respect for due process and fundamental freedoms.

The Senate’s State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill includes conditionality on these terms, The counterpart House bill does not.

Unsurprisingly, some Egyptian generals oppose conditionality. What is less expected — and highly regrettable — is that some of the Obama administration officials are parroting their arguments. They are wrong.

We have a long partnership with Egypt. The United States has provided tens of billions of dollars in military equipment and training over several decades, dating back to Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel.

Now the Egyptian people have opened a new chapter. They have ended the repressive regime of President Hosni Mubarak and achieved a pledge of democratic reform from the Egyptian armed forces.

The days of blank checks for military aid to Egypt are over. The Senate’s bill sends that unequivocal message to the people of Egypt — and to their leaders. Funding levels are not at issue between the Senate and the House. Both bills include $1.3 billion and the continuation of our partnership with Egypt’s government.


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