Senate Democrat Threatens to Halt More Military Aid to Egypt
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, promised on September 30, 2023, to impede the release of $235 million in military aid to Egypt.
Such a move could compel the Biden regime to go back on its decision to privilege national security interests over Congress’s preoccupations about Egypt’s checkered human rights record.
In a statement, Cardin additionally threatened to delay the deployment of future military aid to Egypt unless the country made significant strides with respect to the release of political prisoners, improving conditions for human rights activists, and other matters.
“I believe it is imperative that we continue to hold the government of Egypt, and all governments, accountable for their human rights violations,” Cardin stated. “I intend to exercise fully the committee’s oversight responsibilities and my authorities to block future foreign military funds as well as the sale of arms to the government of Egypt if it does not take concrete, meaningful and sustainable steps to improve the human rights conditions in this country.”
Cardin’s move came days after he assumed the chairmanship of the foreign relations panel from New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez who was recently indicted on charges of accepting bribes to facilitate sales of military equipment to Egypt and assist an Egyptian American with close connections to the Egyptian government with his halal meat certification business.
Those allegations have compelled elected officials to dial up the pressure on Menendez while also demanding that Egypt comply with congressionally mandated benchmarks on human rights prior to the transfer of military aid.
Menendez resigned from his position of committee chairmanship and has maintained his innocence throughout this ordeal.
Cardin told reporters that in his capacity as chairman he would “make sure that our foreign policy is wrapped in our values: democracy, human rights, anti-corruption, transparency, and accountability.”
However, Cardin’s decision to try to hold Egypt accountable puts him at odds with the Biden regime who still wants to keep military aid flowing
On September 29, 2023, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, who is a key member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the State Department to “pause a portion of U.S. military financing to Egypt that is conditioned on human rights criteria,” arguing that Congress “needed more clarity” on how those concerns were being tackled.
After entering a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, Egypt has been one of the leading recipients of US aid. It currently receives roughly $1.3 billion per year in foreign military aid. A part of that aid is conditioned on the Egyptian state making progress on human rights. That said, Congress granted the administration a waiver that can be used to go around those requirements.
Egypt should not be getting a cent of taxpayer-funded military aid, irrespective of its human rights records. This type of aid is nothing more than a handout to corrupt countries.
That type of military aid should be diverted into more productive defensive endeavors such as showing up the US’s southern border and completely securing the western hemisphere from external threats. No more needs to be sent to countries abroad when we have so many problems at home.