The U.S. Should Be Helping Egypt Fight Terror, Not Punishing It

The U.S. has withheld military aid from Egypt this year, in part as a response to repressive measures taken against terrorist groups in the Sinai. While the U.S. is right to be concerned about human rights in Egypt, argue David Schenker and Eric Trager, American interests would be best served by helping and not hindering Egypt in its war on terror:

[S]ecurity—not democracy—is the top priority for a critical mass of Egyptians, who view their military’s Sinai campaign as vital for defeating domestic terrorism and avoiding the chaotic regional trend. Given the deadly nature of the threats Egyptians face, Western condemnation of the military’s tactics in Sinai will invariably be interpreted as hostile. For this reason, if the U.S. wants Egypt to fight terrorists in Sinai with greater consideration for human rights—and, more importantly, with greater effectiveness—Washington should act as a partner, rather than a sideline player.

At a minimum, a real partnership would necessitate the administration taking steps to ensure that counterterrorism-related military materiel is provided to Egypt without undue delay. The interminable postponement this year of the delivery of 10 Apache helicopters not only frustrated Cairo and stressed the bilateral relationship; it undermined the Sinai counterterrorism campaign. Withholding this type of critical equipment serves neither Egyptian nor Israeli nor U.S. regional interests. Beyond the timely supply of weapons systems and ammunition, the U.S. could provide the Egyptian military with technical assistance—and perhaps disclose operational intelligence for targeting—to help minimize collateral damage in the Sinai.

Read more at Washington Institute

More about: Egypt, Gaza, Muslim Brotherhood, Sinai Peninsula, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship