The United States should only continue giving aid to Egypt if the country establishes order and moves to hold democratic elections within a given period of time, says former Army Gen. Robert Scales.
"We need to dangle military aid over the faces of the military and use that as a subtle leverage to get them moving, to establish order," Scales said in an interview Monday with Fox News. "The second thing we've got to do is stay the heck out of any political confrontation in Egypt. ... We've seen in previous efforts to do that in the Middle East, the outcome can only be bad for the United States."
The United States, which sends $1.5 billion annually to Egypt, should give the country a timeline, be it six months or a year, to establish order and vote on a new president, the general said. He also suggested monitoring the election to "make sure it's free and fair."
Millions of Egyptians took to Tahrir Square in Cairo last week to demand the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi after a year in office. Most Egyptians appeared to be dissatisfied with his handling of the economy and were concerned that his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood were putting too much of an Islamic influence on his government.
Middle East observers are divided over whether his ouster amounted to a coup, but Scales described it as an effort by the Egyptian army to simply keep the peace.
"I don’t think it's a coup. What the army is doing is a reaction to the will of the people and they're trying to establish order," he said.
Scales added that he believes the army is the only institution in Egypt at the moment that is politically neutral and respected by most of the people.
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