Biden had focused on the human rights aspect related to his foreign policy during his election campaign, and said at the time that he would not grant “any open checks to Trump’s favorite dictator anymore,” referring to the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
But Biden’s statements contradicted his administration’s recent move, specifically when the State Department approved, last February, a deal of missiles and military equipment to Egypt, estimated at $ 197 million, according to the Washington Post report.
The report added that the decision to allow the deal and its timing has raised concerns among some Democratic lawmakers, who have oversight responsibilities over US arms transfers.
The report pointed out that these concerns were reinforced by the US State Department’s report on the human rights situation around the world, which criticized the Sisi administration for human rights violations, including “unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments by the government.”
The US State Department report, published a few days ago, indicated that the Egyptian security forces committed “numerous violations,” but the government punished officials who committed violations, whether in the security services or anywhere else in the government, but in most cases, it did not investigate In a “comprehensive” manner, what contributed to “creating an environment of impunity.”
The Foreign Ministry report monitors attacks by terrorist organizations that “have led to an arbitrary deprivation of life,” such as kidnapping civilians in North Sinai and beheading some of them, as well as incidents of communal violence against Copts.
The “Washington Post” stated that the Biden administration informed Congress about a possible missile deal to Egypt on February 16, at a time when the Egyptian authorities arrested relatives of the Egyptian dissident, Muhammad Sultan, in a move that rights activists view as a tactic of intimidation, designed to silence Sultan’s criticism. For sissy.
An aide to the Congressional Committee familiar with the situation commented to the American newspaper – who spoke on the condition of secrecy – saying, “The arrests occurred during the review of the official notification … we hoped that in light of the important news of the arrests of Sultan’s relatives, the State Department would temporarily stop the deal, consult and reassess it.” “.
On the other hand, a US State Department spokesman – who also spoke on the condition of secrecy – defended the completion of the missile deal with Egypt, saying that the deal serves “the interests of the United States and the world by improving the capabilities of the US Navy to defend the Egyptian coasts and its approach with the Suez Canal.”
Other officials, according to “The Washington Post”, doubted that suspending the deal on Egypt would put pressure on it. They described the deal as a “routine” deal, but some lawmakers opposed this point.
Democratic Representative from New Jersey, Tom Malinowski, who held the position of a senior human rights official during the administration of former President Barack Obama, said, “According to my experience, the only thing that affects Egyptian behavior is the denial of their play.” In reference to weapons.
“We do not understand, how reasonable it is to grant massive military aid to a country that does not appear to be facing foreign threats, is not cooperating well with us in western Libya, and is oppressing its own people in particular,” said Democratic Michigan Representative and member of the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee Andy Levine. .
Levin concluded his interview with “The Washington Post”, saying, “What is the critical role that Egypt plays at the present time, what justifies giving them all this aid?”
It is reported that former Republican President Donald Trump described Sisi as his “favorite dictator,” and he praised him on more than one occasion. And in 2019, Trump said that Sisi has managed to achieve order and security inside the country since he took office.
The “Washington Post” report indicated that the Egyptian embassy in Washington had – in anticipation of Trump leaving the presidency – an agreement last November, at a value of $ 65,000 per month with the company, “Brownstein Hyatt Farber,” partner, in order to arrange campaigns for political pressure to advance its interests in Washington. The team representing Egypt includes former Republican Congressman Edward R. Royce.
On the other hand, the Egyptian human rights defender and director of the “Forum for Dialogue” human rights organization, Saeed Abdel-Hafez, believes that the US State Department report is a diplomatic message to Egypt, but it is publicly and wrapped with some roughness for considerations of interests between the two countries.
Abdel-Hafez added to Al-Hurra website, “Nevertheless, the report from the human rights side is still subject to the classic approach of democrats, in talking about the human rights situation in Egypt, and the most important manifestation of this is linking the improvement of the human rights situation with military aid, and this link was dismantled with the arrival of the president Al-Sisi comes to power in 2014. ”
Abdel-Hafez concluded by saying, “Military aid and aid are no longer a pressure or influence on the decisions of the Egyptian state. He also drew my attention to the fact that the US State Department still considers the Brotherhood a peaceful opposition, which deserves not only contemplation but wonder.”
It is noteworthy that the US State Department report sheds light on the violations that members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were subjected to, as one of the Egyptian opposition, which was also covered in the report.
The Foreign Ministry’s report monitored the continued arrest of supporters and supporters of demonstrators, the former Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, from 2013 until now, as well as the death of the Brotherhood leader, Essam El-Erian, in his prison last year, and life sentences for other leaders.
Egypt has classified the Brotherhood as a terrorist group since Morsi’s ouster on July 3, 2013, and Morsi’s ouster has been followed by a massive campaign of arrests against members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other civil and religious currents. Egypt claims that the group used violence against the new authority, especially during the security forces’ dispersal of a fourth sit-in by Morsi supporters.