A new memo from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, termed the “memorandum of justification,” sought to explain to Congress why the US continues to provide massive amounts of military aid to Egypt annual despite human rights concerns.
The Trump Administration had previously withheld $195 million from the aid over these concerns, but Pompeo freed this, and all other money up, citing national security concerns. More interesting is the further digression on human rights concerns, however.
Pompeo and others have repeatedly confirmed that the “human rights climate in Egypt continues to deteriorate,” and Pompeo set out the human rights violations in considerable detail, from warrantless detentions, mass executions, and general abuse of detainees. Pompeo said, however, that Egypt continues to honor peace with Israel, and continues to have the Suez Canal, by way of justifying why the US ignores all of this.
All of these abuses are well know, and that Egypt’s military junta does all of this is no mystery to anyone. This is, however, the first time official US documents have so extensively detailed that the US government is aware of the reality of the situation.
That is potentially a huge deal. Egypt has clearly shown little inclination to stop such abuses even as it stands, and for a Secretary of State to both document the facts and try to justify maintaining the huge military aid provisions is effectively an American imprimatur for Egyptian crimes, giving the junta every reason to believe they can carry on without risking their annual US subsidies.