Da Mubarak ble styrtet gjorde USA fremtidig støtte avhengig av at nye makthavere styrte i demokratisk retning. Det er det nå reist tvil om. Dermed er støtten i fare.
Så enkelt kan det formuleres. Obama-administrasjonen hadde neppe forestilt seg at det kunne bli aktuelt å innstille støtten. Men den muligheten er nå reell.
Det er spesielt undertrykkelsen av NGO’er som provoserer amerikanerne. Det er til dels grupper som støttes av USA, og militærrådet har guts til å anklage dem for å løpe utenlandske krefters ærend. Det vekker Washingtons irritasjon. Skulle amerikanernes støtte til demokrati være illegitim? Militærrådet får det til å høres suspekt ut.
“We are very clear that there are problems that arise from this situation that can impact all the rest of our relationship with Egypt,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters in Munich on Saturday. “We do not want that.”
Under new conditions imposed by Congress, the Obama administration must certify that Egypt is taking specific steps toward democracy before disbursing $1.3 billion in military aid. But a senior Obama administration official, who was not authorized to speak by name, said there is currently no way to certify that all conditions are being met.
“We’ve told the Egyptians that we’re in a very difficult situation,” the official said.
That message is being hammered home by the State Department, the Pentagon and — in a rare show of bipartisanship — Republican and Democratic lawmakers, many of whom are meeting with a delegation of Egyptian generals visiting Washington. In discussions, U.S. officials — from President Obama to the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo — have repeatedly warned of the consequences if Egypt doesn’t change course.
Thus far, the Egyptian leadership appears unmoved.
“The perception that this aid only benefits Egypt is wrong,” said a senior Egyptian diplomat on condition he not be named. “This is an ongoing investigation by the independent judiciary. How can the U.S. say you want democracy in Egypt and then say next that the Egyptian military should squeeze the judge to do this or that?”
Når sønnen til USAs samferdselsminister blir tilbakeholdt, forstår amerikanerne at noe er gått galt i Egypt.
Egyptian officials have asserted that their investigation of the American NGOs reflects their concerns that foreign meddling has been driving ongoing protests. But authorities’ recent decision to bar several members of the nonprofits from leaving the country — including Sam LaHood, the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood — has only worsened matters.
State Department er pålagt av Kongressen å sørge for at Egypt følger visse kriterier, ett av dem er frie valg, ytringsfrihet og opprettholdelse av fredsavtalen med Israel.
Dette legger innskrenkinger på hva en islamist-dominert nasjonalforsamling kan finne på. Det er ikke sikkert motsetningene blir mindre om militærstyret går av.
Obama-administrasjonen var opprinnelig mot kriteriene, men negative utviklingstrekk i Egypt har gjort dem til sentrale prøvestener for forholdet Kairo-Washington. Obama har rett til å sette dem til side av sikkerhetshensyn, det er ikke aktuelt slik militærrådet oppfører seg.
Det var raidet mot flere utenlandsk-affilierte NGO’er som fikk ballen til å rulle.
Several of those NGOs have strong ties to Washington’s traditional power centers. The International Republican Institute, for example, has as its chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who will meet with the Egyptian generals in Washington next week. Former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) is on the board of the National Democratic Institute, another group that was raided. And on Friday, 41 members of Congress released a joint letter criticizing Egypt’s leaders over their treatment of NGOs.
In a sign of growing tensions, lobbying firms representing Cairo in Washington severed their contract last weekend after coming under fire for trying to defend Egypt on the issue. (Egyptian authorities countered that it was their decision to cut ties.)
“I don’t think the military leaders fully appreciate the seriousness of what’s happening,” said a staffer in Congress, where the anger at Egypt has been the most intense. “They think eventually the U.S. will back down; that we need them more than they need us.”