Kerry Goes to Egypt to Support Murderous Dictator Sisi: 5 U.S.-Funded Nations That Torture, Execute and Jail With Impunity
Secretary of State John Kerry and General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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The United States has long funded governments that systematically abuse human rights. Over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry showed how that is still true when he visited Egypt and pledged American support for a regime that came to power in a coup.
Kerry’s jaunt to Cairo was his first visit to the country since General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who lead the military coup last year that deposed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, was elected to the presidency. Sisi’s election came in the midst of a massive crackdown on political dissent that has included the killing of Muslim Brotherhood activists and the jailing of other secular activists who sparked the 2011 revolution that overthrew another U.S.-backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak.
Kerry pledged that the U.S. would fully renew ties to the Egyptian regime. The Obama administration has at times criticized Sisi for the stifling of dissent, though it never amounted to much more than rhetoric. Kerry’s visit indicated that the U.S. would continue to provide Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid, a portion of which was suspended after Egyptian security forces carried out the coup and killed hundreds of unarmed protesters affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in August 2013.
The New York Times reported that “Kerry expressed firm confidence that the United States would soon fully restore $650 million — the first tranche of the $1.3 billion in annual aid — to the military that the Obama administration had partly withheld after the takeover.” The Secretary of State added that he was confident that Apache attack helicopters “will come, and that they will come very, very soon.” In fact, the State Department announced Sunday that the U.S. had released $575 million in military aid to Egypt, which eventually circles back to the U.S. when Egypt buys U.S.-made military equipment.
That money will fund the weapons and equipment the Egyptian security forces use to keep a tight lid on political activism against the government. Since the military coup, Egypt’s armed forces have killed more than 3,000 people and jailed thousands more. On June 23rd, three journalists from Al Jazeera English were sentenced to seven to ten years on trumped-up charges of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood--now a banned political group deemed “terrorists”--and harming national security. And earlier this month, the prominent activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was sentenced to 15 years in jail for allegedly putting together a protest that violated a law banning demonstrations.
The arming of Egypt’s security forces fits into a long-standing pattern of U.S. funding for repressive regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere who are fully aligned with American goals. Here are 4 other repressive governments that are funded by American taxpayer dollars.
1. Afghanistan. In 2001, following the September 11th attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and deposed the Taliban regime that harbored Al Qaeda. The invasion was swift. The U.S. quickly overpowered the Taliban. Then, the U.S. began propping up a government that has turned into a corrupt human rights abuser headed by President Hamid Karzai, who was appointed president and then re-elected (the second time under a cloud of fraud allegations).
Every year, the U.S. government has appropriated billions of dollars to the Afghan government, which still finds itself under attack by the Taliban and other forces opposed to their rule. Since 2013, the U.S. has given $93 billion to Afghanistan, $56 billion of which has gone to their security forces.
The U.S.-trained Afghan security forces have engaged in torture and extrajudicial killings. In 2011, the U.N. reported that the Afghan police and intelligence services tortured people with electric shocks and beat prisoners. Little has changed since then: Another U.N. report, this one from January 2013, found that at least 81 people had been disappeared by Afghan forces in one province alone, and that bodies had been found after being executed.