Hosni Mubarak, the former U.S.-backed dictator of Egypt who was arrested and tried after being ousted by a popular revolt two years ago, is going to be released from custody within the next two days.
I read this news this morning, after a piece of mine was published at the Daily Caller arguing the Obama administration is longing for the days when Mubarak ruled Egypt with an iron fist and kept the population subdued. Mubarak’s impending release tends to feed that narrative.
One of the charges against the former U.S. client, that of embezzling funds for presidential palaces, was dropped, prompting the release order. But he still faces retrial for complicity in the murder of approximately 900 protesters during his overthrow.
But remember, it isn’t just Mubarak. The U.S. has close ties to the entire Egyptian military establishment, which has taken over the government this past month, throwing out elected representatives and putting military officials, many with ties to the former Mubarak regime, in their place.
Egypt is a “major non-NATO ally” with the military to military liaisons at its core. Egypt’s military relationship with the West took off after the 1979 Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt, rendering Egypt the second-largest recipient of its bilateral assistance after Israel.
This required, among others, a major military and financial investment that totalled $66bn since the peace treaty. The American wooing of the Egyptian generals has cost the US $1.3bn a year since 1987.
In 2011 – the year of the revolution – Egypt received almost a quarter of all of America’s Foreign Military Financing funds.
The American-Egyptian courtship has resulted in, among many things, an Americanised Egyptian defence force.
Over 500 Egyptian officers benefit from the American military education system every year. These include top Egyptian officers, including the country’s defense chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who went to the US Army War College in Pennsylvania, as well as the commander of the Air Force, Reda Mahmoud.
The education stints of the Egyptian officers in US military colleges, the training programs, and the joint military exercises have led to enduring ties between the establishments of both countries.
In the meantime, Mubarak’s old military friends continue to wage violence against people in the streets. Here is a Human Rights Watch video on the happenings: