WSJ: Obama Should Continue Egyptian Aid

Friday, 05 Jul 2013 11:23 AM

By Dan Weil

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Cutting aid to Egypt now following the country's military coup would be a mistake, the Wall Street Journal said Friday in an editorial.

"Unpopular as America is in Egypt, $1.3 billion in annual military aid buys access with the generals. U.S. support for Cairo is written into the Camp David peace accords with Israel," the paper pointed out.

"Washington can also do more to help Egypt gain access to markets, international loans and investment capital. The U.S. now has a second chance to use its leverage to shape a better outcome."

The Journal said President Barack Obama has been insufficiently engaged about Egypt since the turmoil began there in 2011.

"America can . . . do more than it has," Journal editors write.

"The Obama Administration has been caught trailing events at every turn,' first in supporting former president Hosni Mubarak "before abruptly throwing him over," and then embracing his successor Mohammed Morsi "despite his authoritarian turn."

Inaction has been the dominant theme for the White House, according to the editorial.

"President Obama stayed quiet throughout the latest crisis, finally issuing an anodyne call Wednesday night for 'a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties — secular and religious, civilian and military.'"

The United States also has an opportunity to assist Egypt economically, helping it gain access to markets, international loans and investment capital, the editorial says. "The U.S. now has a second chance to use its leverage to shape a better outcome."

The paper said armed forces chief Abdul Fatah al-Sisi has to continue Egypt's transition to democracy. "If General Sisi merely tries to restore the old Mubarak order, he will eventually suffer Mr. Morsi's fate."

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