Tuesday, November 13, 2007

US cuts aid to Egypt by $500 million


We will just have to hope that Egypt isn't getting paid more than that to keep the smuggling open, right?

There are people and nations who will open their wallet to the Egyptians in order to destroy Israel. I'm not sure this 500 million will hurt them all that much. I hope it will.

DEBKAfile Exclusive: US cuts aid to Egypt by $500 million over its failure to halt terrorist smuggling to Gaza
November 13, 2007, 6:48 PM (GMT+02:00)

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Danin is reported by DEBKAfile’s Washington and Middle East sources as having visited Cairo over the last weekend for a showdown with the Egyptian government on its failure to block the Egyptian-Gaza border at the Philadelphi sector to smuggled terrorists, arms and explosives.

He notified President Hosni Mubarak and intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman that President Bush would recommend Congress cut a further $300 million from the annual aid bill to Egypt. This would come on top of the $200 million the House had already slashed on its own initiative.

The US official warned Egyptian leaders that the 2008 aid appropriation would be further reduced if smuggled war materials and Palestinian terrorists continued to enjoy the freedom to enter the Gaza Strip at will.

Cairo currently receives circa $3 billion in US aid per annum. Sizeable reductions if sustained would throw the Egyptian economy into crisis.

The White House has clearly had enough of Cairo’s slackness and rejects its two excuses, which are: Egyptian military manpower is too thin on the ground to seal the border and needs to be expanded and, besides, the Israeli navy must be blamed for failing to exert a marine blockade on Gaza.

This is the first time, DEBKAfile notes, that the Bush administration, under pressure from Congress, is wielding economic sanctions against a friendly Arab government in the interests of Israeli security.

Danin informed Egyptian officials that the US government had decided to take a firm hand on the issue because Cairo’s failure to crack down on arms smugglers and terrorists in Sinai - not only jeopardizes US regional interests and harms Israel but rebounds on Egypt’s national security as well. Washington cannot accept Cairo’s claim in official documents that it is tackling terrorists in Sinai, including al Qaeda, while giving them free rein. Bush administration officials find they cannot defend Egypt to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its chairman, Tom Lantos (D-Calif). A high-profile delegation of four congressmen is on its way to Cairo to see for itself how security on the Egyptian-Gaza border sectors is managed.

DEBKAfile’s Washington sources add that the White House is furious with Mubarak over his contemptuous dismissal of the Annapolis peace conference and advice to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to boycott it.

The Egyptian president now has two options: He can either reclaim the scratched half a billion US dollars by embarking on effective action against the smugglers and terrorists roaming in Sinai, or beg the missing funds from Saudi Arabia.

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