Senate Won’t Consider Ending Egypt Aid

Sen. Paul's Amendment Fails in Spite of Existing Law

Senator Rand Paul’s (R – KY) amendment to the transportation appropriations bill will not be considered, after a 13-86 vote to table a call to redirect Egypt military aid to funding US bridge repair.

US law actually requires that foreign aid be suspended in the wake of a military coup, and Egypt underwent a coup at the start of July. The Obama Administration has vowed to overtly circumvent this law by simply pretending not to notice a coup, saying that the law, as written, doesn’t require them to notice when a coup happens and that they have “no plans” to do so.

In spite of senators expressing annoyance at the administration for flouting the law, and others expressing “concern” about recent massacres by the new junta, there was little appetite in the Senate to actually tackle the issue of Egypt, with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) and John McCain (R – AZ) insisting that post-coup instability requires continuing the aid to maintain US influence over the junta.

That’s only part of the reason, however, as Egypt’s military has repeatedly noted. The massive US aid to Egypt is a direct result of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and pro-Israel lobbyists have pushed to keep the aid spigot flowing to ensure that whatever regime rules Egypt remains more or less compliant with Israeli wishes.

From the Egypt junta’s perspective, the aid is really just money the US “owes” to them in return for allowing Israel to retain a veto over all military operations in the Sinai Peninsula.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.