Raids on human rights groups this week in Cairo by the Egyptian military are raising concerns in the United States -- concerns that may prove costly to that country's armed forces.
"The raids on Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute, the Adenauer Foundation, and other groups helping Egyptians move toward respect for democratic politics and human rights were of a piece with the practices of Hosni Mubarak -- only bolder and more repressive," writes Elliott Abrams in The Atlantic
Abrams, who served as Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy under President George W. Bush, argues that the raids were not an attempt to put down Egyptian extremists "or to weaken the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafist party after their recent election victories."
Abrams, a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, contends the actions of the Egyptian military are "an effort to weaken and demonize centrist and liberal forces."
Points out Abrams, who also served as Assistant Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan: "The Egyptian military plays positive and negative roles in Egypt but the most significant single thing it did under Mubarak was to guarantee an Islamist victory once he left the scene."
Abrams makes the reference to former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak who he also says in his 30 years of power, "did not crush the Muslim Brotherhood. He made deals with it."
Bottom line, according to Abrams: "We must let the army know that if it is their policy to crush democracy activists, there is a price they will pay. It's $1.3 billion a year (U.S. aid to the Egyption military)."
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