- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
MOWBRAY: Deceit on the Nile
Congress needs to act to prevent Cairo’s switch from friend to foe
Question of the Day
For the first time in a generation, Egypt is in strategic play. It could either stay a U.S. strategic partner and maintain peace with Israel, or it could join an Islamist axis with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Recent events show how quickly the pendulum can swing. In the span of just over a week, President Obama proposed a multibillion-dollar economic aid package for Egypt, and then the supposed U.S. ally turned around and opened the Rafah border with Hamas-controlled Gaza.
The timing was as significant as the action itself. Egypt appears to be playing hardball, seemingly looking to extract additional concessions in exchange for continued loyalty.
While the administration remains silent for now, Congress is looking to push back.
No one has formally introduced legislation yet, but conversations with Hill staffers and several members of Congress over the past week indicate that Congress will not hand over billions without applying significant pressure on Cairo.
Mr. Kirk, who has a long track record of leading bipartisan efforts to strengthen U.S. security in the Middle East, has not unveiled legislation yet. He did say, however, that the key principles are that Egypt “keeps its commitments under the Camp David peace accords, allows safe passage through the Suez Canal and works to stem the flow of weapons into Gaza.”
Rep. Steven R. Rothman, New Jersey Democrat, who sits on the House foreign aid panel, supports Egyptian aid, but stresses that it must be contingent on “our national interests [being] addressed properly.”
The most immediate concern for Congress is closing the Rafah border crossing. Few in Congress are willing to accept a major U.S. aid recipient allowing the free flow of goods and people into a terrorist-controlled territory.
The George W. Bush administration was not seen as applying strong pressure on the Mubarak regime, so Congress attached strings to fiscal 2008 Egyptian aid. Congress conditioned at least $100 million of U.S. assistance on three requirements, the most important of which was that Cairo “detect and destroy the smuggling network and tunnels that lead from Egypt to Gaza.”
Egyptian border security soon improved. Though not miraculously better, things were trending in the right direction. Hamas‘ political and economic fortunes - which typically go hand in hand - plunged, with the terrorist group becoming deeply unpopular in Gaza, according to several respected polls in early 2010.
After the botched Israeli raid on the flotilla a year ago, however, Egypt eased up on its border enforcement in a show of “solidarity” with its Arab brethren.
Now it’s an open question whether or not Egypt will make serious efforts to prevent smuggling into Gaza.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
Get Breaking Alerts
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Politics and corruption driving water woes
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Laws should target criminals, not the law-abiding
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Temple Mount is still Judaism's holiest site
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: If Israeli laid down its arms
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Stop silence on relocations of illegal aliens