With the Obama Administration openly threatening to cut off all aid to Egypt over the country’s attempt to charge US NGO workers with illegal efforts to interfere in the nation’s elections, Egypt’s parliament is poised to move ahead and block the aid from coming in the first place.
The dispute over the NGO workers has calmed somewhat since the workers were bailed out and left the country, but the dispute over US aid remains. A recent poll showed strong opposition among Egyptian voters for accepting aid at any rate, and MPs are arguing that the US is “disregarding” the nation’s sovereignty.
Since much of the US aid is delivered directly to the Egyptian military junta it is unclear whether parliament can even theoretically block the cash flow. Parliament has been at odds with the junta since the recent election.
The change in governments, coupled with the major NGO row, has become a rare occasion during which US foreign aid is being openly debated in another country. The acceptance of US aid clearly has strings attached, and whether those strings are worth it is a question rarely explored abroad, where decades of taking the money has given the policy too much momentum to question.