US Aid to Egypt Is About Keeping Suez Canal Open to Warships

Canal Is Key to Regional Interventions, Analysts Say

The US government’s position on Egypt is constant. They backed Mubarak until the moment it was clear he was going, then jumped ship to back the revolution. They then backed the elected government, until last month’s coup was in progress. Now they’re on the junta’s bandwagon, overtly violating a US law that requires ending aid in the event of coups, and looking the other way during massacres of civilian protesters.

Whoever is in power can count on the Obama administration’s support so long as their hold on power seems secure. They can also count on $1.5 billion in funding. Officially, this is to maintain “influence,” but since the administration clearly doesn’t care what the junta or anyone else does in power, it never seems to want to exercise any of that influence.

The reality is a lot more cynical than that, and analysts who support keeping the aid flowing say that it’s mostly about keeping the US military’s access to the Suez Canal unquestioned, something which is particularly important with the US ever looking to start new wars in the region.

In a way this puts the US in the same boat as it is with Bahrain, willing to look the other way for pretty much anything so long as whoever happens to be in power remains effectively for sale.

Egypt aid has its roots in the Camp David Accords, and since then the US has essentially agreed to buy off Egypt to keep them willing to give Israel veto power over operations in the Sinai Peninsula. In practice, this means less and less, since Israel is pretty pro-junta and pro-crackdown, but the tradition of throwing money at Egypt has gained a momentum of its own, and it will take a lot of work to end it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of