Time For a Reality Check for Egypt's Military Rulers

For months, the Egyptian military council has blamed "an invisible hand" and "foreign instigators" for the demonstrations against its rule. Yet, despite all its condemnations against "Western interference,” only Egyptians were being arrested, beaten up, and tried in military court. 

Aside from one Israeli who was accused of being a spy, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) based their entire public relations campaign on rumors and allegations of outside involvement in Egypt's internal affairs rather than substantiated evidence.

The dilemma in the government taking such an approach is that the Egyptian revolution has primarily been an internal affair. For decades, American lawmakers appreciated Mubarak's hardline stance against Islamism and helped strengthen — rather than undermine — the military by endowing Egypt with a high amount of foreign aid, second only to Israel. The $1.3 billion Egypt receives annually has forced the military into an awkward dance between saving face at home and maintaining their friendship abroad. Finally, with their legitimacy deteriorating at home, push came to shove. If the ruling army was going to be seen as credible by its compatriots, it needed to deliver proof of the Western interference it had railed against. 

In December, the Egyptian military decided it was no longer interested in this precarious relationship with the United States, and in the process inadvertently hurt itself. By raiding almost a dozen Western NGOs and charging 43 members of their staffs with "illegal foreign funding," Egypt has committed to its conspiracy theory and set off a firestorm of international and congressional condemnation in the process.

Already worried about the growing strength of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military's continuation of Mubarak era human rights, American officials are taking a stand and threatening to cut back on crucial aid.

"If anybody goes to jail I think there'll be a backlash you can't contain," Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters. Forty-one other congressmen wrote a harsh letter warning Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi that funding would be jeopardized  if any NGO officials were jailed. 

For Egyptian officials visiting next week, this means a very icy reception on Capitol Hill, and a very embarrassing decision on how to proceed. The Egyptian military has already boxed itself in. Should the trial of 19 Americans - including the son of Transportation Minister Ray LaHood — go forward, Egypt may lose its favorable status with American lawmakers all together.

The implications of such a fallout would be dramatic, but with Egypt's military showing no effort to improve the abusive human rights records that defined the Mubarak era, its unwillingness to move towards a more transparent democracy, and its ungrateful hubris towards its long time American ally, a reality check is in order.

Photo Credit: David Dietz 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

David Dietz

After graduating Georgetown University, David traveled to the Middle East to cover the unrest and revolutions in the region for www.policymic.com and his own personal blog www.TheMidEaster.com. David reported on uprisings and political movements from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain and contributed to reports for Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and the Huffington Post. After more than a year in the Middle East David returned stateside to launch Modavanti.com, an online retailer for stylish sustainable fashion. He is also currently a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post where he writes about his experiences as an entrepreneur and creating social impact through business. Besides his interests in the Arab world entrepreneurship and sustainable fashion, David loves sports and enjoys playing golf, tennis and skiing. You can visit his site Modavanti.com for all your sustainable fashion needs. Fun Fact: David has witnessed five revolutions/uprisings during the Arab Spring

MORE FROM

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.