Confronted with popular protest, the country’s unelected rulers have doubled down on repression, jailing peaceful activists and killing dozens of civilians who have the gall to exercise their rights. Those who state security forces haven’t killed for demanding democracy have been tear-gassed and brought before the perverted justice of a military court, even as the ruling clique promises the world and its red-eyed subjects democratic reform. Eventually.
Were it Syria or Iran, the rhetoric from Washington would be stern, aggressive even. But since the repressive ruling clique is the military junta in Egypt, the lectures are timid – and coupled with a handout. Indeed, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just announced, the Obama administration is waiving a legislative requirement that made military assistance to Egypt conditional on its rulers “implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law.”
This allows the U.S. government to send Egypt’s rulers $1.5 billion in taxpayer money, more than 85 percent of which is explicitly set aside for the armed forces.
If one only pays attention to what politicians say, ignoring what they do, this may come as a surprise. President Barack Obama, after all, has voiced support for the Arab Spring. He gave a speech in Cairo full of lofty words about the people of the region’s legitimate democratic aspirations. So why would his administration lavish a regime that cracks down on pro-democracy forces with money for weapons?