Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, declared a three-month state of emergency last week after two suicide attacks on Coptic churches killed forty-four people. In response, President Trump tweeted that he was confident in Sisi’s ability to “handle the situation properly,” less than a week after he also vowed to rejuvenate Egypt’s military and fight terrorism. To be an effective security partner, Trump must do more than just order military equipment. He must hold Sisi accountable for his governance and ensure basic security assistance provisions are met. Failure to do so will result in writing a blank check that backfires on U.S. interests.
Trump’s warm embrace of Sisi is a serious departure from U.S. policy. In 2013, the Obama administration suspended partial aid to Egypt following Sisi’s ousting of Mohamed Morsi, a democratically elected leader from the Muslim Brotherhood. The suspension failed to induce major policy changes by Sisi, but the United States regained leverage in its security assistance by adding several new stipulations, including the discontinuation of cash-flow financing, increased reporting on human-rights performance, and narrowing of military assistance to include counterterrorism, border security, Sinai security and maritime security.
Read the full article at The National Interest.