World View: U.S.-Egypt Relationship Little Affected by Aid Cutoff

World View: U.S.-Egypt Relationship Little Affected by Aid Cutoff

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Mediterranean turns into a ‘cemetery’ as another migrant boat capsizes
  • U.S.-Egypt relationship little affected by aid cutoff

Mediterranean turns into a ‘cemetery’ as another migrant boat capsizes

Survivors arriving in Valletta, the capital of Malta (Getty)
Survivors arriving in Valletta, the capital of Malta (Getty)

Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat said on Friday:

“”As things stand we are just building a cemeterywithin our Mediterranean sea.

We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become acemetery.”

He was reacting to the news of another ship, packed with hundreds ofmigrants, capsizing as it approached Malta. In this case, rescuevessels from Italy and Malta responded quickly and hundreds ofmigrants were pulled from the sea, along with 34 dead bodies. Thisfollows a much larger incident last week, when hundreds of migrantsdied from the sinking of a migrant boat packed with 500 migrants fromNorthern Africa. (See “Lampedusa disaster forces Europe’s immigrant dilemma into headlines”.) In the most recent incident, many of themigrants were white, indicating that they were likelyto be Syrians and Palestinians.

Activists are calling for measures to stop the flow of migrants. Over30,000 migrants arrived in Italy and Malta so far this year, comparedwith 15,000 in all of 2012. According to one official, “Behind thesetragedies, as the dramatic instability of African countries increases,there are human traffickers who are enriching themselves on the backsof people who are fleeing war and hunger.” BBC and Mirror (London)

U.S.-Egypt relationship little affected by aid cutoff

On Wednesday, the Obama administration announced a partial cutoff ofmilitary aid to Egypt, as required by U.S. law because of the armycoup that ousted a democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi. $260million in cash assistance to the government is being delayed, anddelivery of Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Abrams tankkits, which are put together in Egyptian factories, and Harpoonanti-ship missiles will be held up. The cutoff has received somecriticism because the U.S. needs good relations with Egypt for its ownstrategic regions. The aid to Egypt’s military gives theU.S. preferential access to the Suez Canal, and also gives theU.S. intelligence information about the entire Mideast region.

So it’s not surprising that the aid cutoff is turning out to be moresymbolic than substantial. The delay in cash assistance will be morethan made up for by cash contributions from Egypt’s Arab allies,including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, which arejointly providing $12 billion in aid. Potentially more significant isthe cutoff of delivery of the heavy weapons. Egypt cannot simply takeSaudi Arabia’s money and use it to purchase an F-16, since such salesare carefully controlled by the U.S. government. However, Egyptalready has large inventories of all of these heavy weapons, and so apostponed delivery will not matter for a while. If the U.S. REALLYwanted to cut off aid, they would suspend maintenance and logisticsupport. But the Egyptians will still receive spare parts,maintenance and technical advisers, which is what they really needfrom the U.S. Daily News Egypt and AP

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