Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Egyptian military kills protesters claiming they are terrorists while the US mulls cutting off aid, AIPAC does not support the move

Mideast Egypt

Image from the Huffington Post

With so much happening in Egypt, it’s tough to keep up.  Here are some of the highlights:

  

  • The Egyptian army is getting more and more violent in its attempt at squashing protests from Brotherhood supporters
  • In an attempt to justify the killing, the Egyptian military is calling protesters terrorists and trying to ban the brotherhood
  • Mohammed ElBaradei resigned as the VP in protest for what the military bosses are doing
  • The US is considering halting aid to the country, which is mainly military aid
  • The powerful Israeli lobby in Washington, AIPAC, does not support halting aid

  

Here are highlights from two recent articles, the first is from Reuters:

   

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood risks political elimination, with the new army-backed government threatening to ban the Islamist organization after launching a fierce crackdown on its supporters that has killed hundreds.

Struggling to stamp its authority on Egypt following the ousting last month of President Mohamed Mursi, the country’s new rulers have upped the rhetoric, saying the Arab world’s most populous nation is at war with terrorism.

More than 700 people have died, most of them backers of Mursi, in four days of violence. That has earned Egypt stiff condemnation from Western nations, uncomfortable with Islamist rule but also with the overthrow of an elected government.

The crackdown has, however, drawn messages of support from key Arab allies like Saudi Arabia, which have long feared the spread of Brotherhood ideology to the Gulf monarchies.

Violence flared briefly on Saturday as backers of Mursi exchanged fire with security forces in a central Cairo mosque, where scores of Muslim Brotherhood protesters had sought refuge from clashes the day before that killed 95 in the capital.

Police finally cleared the building and made a string of arrests, with crowds on the street cheering them on and harassing foreign reporters trying to cover the scene.

“We as Egyptians feel deep bitterness towards coverage of the events in Egypt,” presidential political adviser Mostafa Hegazy said, accusing Western media of ignoring attacks on police and the destruction of churches blamed on Islamists.

 

Next is a story from Breitbart:

 

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have finally come around to joining Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in believing that the U.S. should cut off aid to Egypt amid the deteriorating conditions in that country.

In a joint Friday afternoon statement, McCain and Graham called for the $1.5 billion of annual U.S. aid to Egypt to be cut off until conditions improve there.

“The massacre of civilians this week in Egypt has brought our longstanding relationship with that country to a fork in the road,” McCain and Graham said. “The interim civilian government and security forces – backed up, unfortunately, by the military – are taking Egypt down a dark path, one that the United States cannot and should not travel with them.”

Both Graham and McCain opposed an amendment Paul offered in late July that would have redirected the $1.5 billion per year the U.S. spends on Egypt to help rebuilding the interior of the United States. “All I can see is the billions of American tax dollars that he chooses to send overseas,” Paul said on the Senate floor during that battle, according to Politico. “The president sends billions of dollars to Egypt in the form of advanced fighter plans and tanks while Detroit crumbles.

“In our hour of need in our country, why are you sending money to people that hate us?” Paul added.

When McCain opposed Paul’s amendment cutting off aid to Egypt, he argued that such a move would hurt Israel. “This is a question of whether the senator from Kentucky knows what’s better for Israel, or if Israel knows what’s better for Israel,” McCain said.

Graham made the same argument. “I have a letter here from AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] I asked them to comment,” Graham said, according to Foreign Policy magazine. Graham then cited the AIPAC letter: “We do not support cutting off all assistance to Egypt at this time.”

 

It’s interesting to see that both Saudi Arabia and the Israeli lobby support the military crackdown.  They each have their own reasons, none of which are to help Egyptians end their suffering or to support their new democracy.