Why Is Rep. Eliot Engel So Upset About Suspending Egypt Aid?

Back when the Egyptian military ousted the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamad Morsi, the Obama administration deflected calls to cut off aid, as is required by law in the event of a military coup. And as the months passed and the military regime imposed emergency law, censored the media, and marginalized opposition political parties, President Obama steadfastly refused to cut off U.S. support for tyranny in Egypt.

220px-Eliot_Engel,_official_photo_portraitNow, I don’t know what prompted the president to finally cut of some of the military aid to Egypt (the White House said resumption of aid is “pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government”), but I know his most vocal detractors in Congress are full of you-know-what.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) made headlines yesterday when he spoke out against his own party’s leader and criticized Obama for partially halting aid.

“I am disappointed that the Administration is planning to partially suspend military aid to Egypt,” Engel said. “During this fragile period we should be rebuilding partnerships in Egypt that enhance our bilateral relationship, not undermining them.”

Beyond being saddened by not “enhancing our bilateral relationship” with a brutal military regime, what is upsetting Rep. Engel so much? He elaborates:

“I am also frustrated that the Administration has not adequately consulted with Congress regarding U.S. policy towards Egypt.  I urge the Administration to work together with Congress and Egypt’s leadership to better address the serious security and economic challenges Egypt currently faces.”

That, ladies and gentleman, is what we like to call…bullshit. Engel couldn’t care less about the president’s lack of consultation with Congress on Libya, the drone war, covert special operations raids all over the world, or any of the other issues unconstitutionally holed up solely in the executive branch.

So why is Engel so perturbed? A quick look at his top campaign contributors is revealing: Engel’s fifth highest contributions come from what opensecrets.org calls “Pro-Israel” groups (not to mention defense corporations, too). Engel is a strong supporter of Israel, having advocated recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and he is in the “Israel Allies” Caucus in Congress.

Of course Engel wants the question of aid to Egypt left to Congress, because he knows Congress would vote to keep it flowing. As John Hudson at Foreign Policy wrote yesterday, “efforts to suspend aid in Congress by libertarian Republicans have failed in the face of bipartisan opposition by congressional leaders and lobbying efforts by the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).”

The U.S. supports all kinds of nasty dictators in the Middle East for all sorts of geo-political reasons. But aid to Egypt lost much of its realpolitik value when Mubarak was ousted. Keeping it flowing would be almost solely for Israel’s sake. And those crying about Obama’s partial suspension of Egypt aid should just be honest about that.

16 thoughts on “Why Is Rep. Eliot Engel So Upset About Suspending Egypt Aid?”

  1. Engel's comments were correct, whatever his motives as presumed by the unfortuhnate self-righteous writer who has little insight into Egypt's heroic efforts to unite, to put together a constitution supporting all of Egypt, to fight terrorists allowed into the country by Morsi and the the fanatic Brotherhood. Obama will eventually step up the support as the Egyptian elections proceed – but now it seems to the Egyptians that Obama is trying to dictate the process in an area in which he could never do better – much like another country telling us to negotiate with Al Qaeda or to at least alllow them full access to our press to incite violence – to allow them to bring in money to run a campaign. Egypt is on the right track.

  2. Um…Isn’t the government 16 trillion dollars in debt? Why should we borrow money from the Chinese, or, the the house of Saud, or even Goldman Sachs, simply to turn around and give it to the Egyptians? Political rhetoric never ceases to amaze me…

  3. Most of every dollar we spend in, on or send to the whole Middle East region and greater North Africa is aid to Israel. Most of the death and injury to our troops and to the people they attacked, most of the suffering and death caused by sanctions heaped on innocent civilians by Congress is on Israel's behalf. A significant slice of the opportunity cost arising from these diverted resources on our infrastructure, education and general welfare can be chalked up to helping Israel.
    What more do people like Engel want of us?

    1. Everyfking thing they kan get…………. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where yu been..???????

  4. Obama has switched from forcing every US taxpayer to hand (roughly) sixteen dollars over to the Egyptian military junta, to forcing every US taxpayer to hand nine dollars over to the military junta.

    I don't like being forced to hand my fucking money over to the Egyptian military junta.

  5. “resumption of aid is “pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government””

    oh, you mean like the free and fair elections won by morsi
    and his party?

  6. Amazing how a treasonous rat like Abrams gets re-elected over and over, a reflection of the non-democracy we live in.

    Plebs pick up your pikes, approach the castle, and storm it.

  7. Whether the US cuts aid to Egypt or doesn't is irrelevant. Any US cut in aid will be fully covered by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other gulf states.

    1. Why is it irrelevant? It's my tax money, it's relevant to me. And who cares who covers it? If we cut the 3 billion to Israel, I don't think anyone would care who covered it. Of course no one would but that's another story

      1. The total direct US aid to Israel since 1949, as near as can be determined, is roughly $123 billion – and that does not include the loan guarantees (USG guarantees payment should Israel default on loans) that during the GWB Administration was approximately $9B.

        So I, for one, care who covers it also, since it is me – and all other US taxpayers. Time to end ALL government aid outside our borders. Let's take care of ourselves first, for a change.

  8. It's refreshing to read interesting content like this. Your unique writing style brings forth thought in the reader. I agree with a lot of this content. Thank you for writing this engaging and intelligent article.

  9. Eliot Dingbat is a lot like Ehud Barack Obama but with a few differences. They both want us to keep giving Israel a never ending Marshall Plan. They should both be shipped to Guantanamo Bay.

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