Time To Cut Off Cairo’s Aid

After today’s grotesque violence, I think the balance of the argument has decisively shifted. There is no way the US can aid a government that guns down its citizens in the streets. Those who argued for it long ago have been vindicated by events. Lynch, in a powerful post, agrees:

With blood in Egypt’s streets and a return to a state of emergency, it’s time for Washington to stop pretending. Its efforts to maintain its lines of communication with the Egyptian military, quietly mediate the crisis, and help lay the groundwork for some new, democratic political process have utterly failed. Egypt’s new military regime, and a sizable and vocal portion of the Egyptian population, have made it very clear that they just want the United States to leave it alone. For once, Washington should give them their wish. As long as Egypt remains on its current path, the Obama administration should suspend all aid, keep the embassy in Cairo closed, and refrain from treating the military regime as a legitimate government. …

The hard truth is that the United States has no real influence to lose right now anyway, and immediate impact isn’t the point. Taking a (much belated) stand is the only way for the United States to regain any credibility — with Cairo, with the region, and with its own tattered democratic rhetoric.

Meanwhile, Mike Giglio reports on being arrested and beaten by Egyptian police. He wasn’t alone:

I was arrested along with an Egyptian freelance photographer, Mahmoud Abou Zeid, and a French freelance photographer, Louis Jammes. They were in the same area during the clashes and also rounded up. Both were beaten after identifying themselves as journalists. Also, in detention, I ran into the award-winning French photo and video journalist Mani. (He doesn’t use his real name.) Mani had been on the Rabaa side of the demonstration, trying to film. For what it’s worth, he says he saw no weapons on the pro-Morsi side, just rocks and sticks. This was my impression, too. I was on the Rabaa front line just before the fighting started and saw no arms; only sticks, and then fireworks that were launched at the police from the side streets.

Other journalists were killed. Gideon Rachman doubts that, at this point, elections can heal the country:

Egypt may hold elections, at some point. But it is inconceivable that the army – having effectively declared war on the Muslim Brotherhood – will risk allowing them to win elections, again. Many Egyptian commentators argue that the Brotherhood are, anyway, much less popular than when President Morsi won election. But it seems highly improbable that the army will risk testing that proposition at the ballot box. If Egypt has any elections in the near future, they will be a sham.

End the aid.