President Trump has been very clear that he wants to pivot away from Obama's backing for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And the Arab Spring's whole democratization program.
Senator McCain has been equally clear that he wants to double down on it.
Guess whom the State Department is listening to?
Egypt passed a law restricting foreign funding of NGOs. Egypt joins a number of countries, including Hungary, Poland and Israel, that are working to curb the influence of the Leftist/Islamist network which operates internationally through non-profit NGOs. Each such effort has led to hysteria and angry threats from the political figures associated with those networks.
Now the State Department is taking action against Egypt over the NGO law.
Officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had decided to withhold $65.7 million in military assistance and $30 million in economic aid to Egypt that has been on hold since fiscal 2014, the officials said. That money will be reprogrammed, meaning it will now be sent to other countries, they said.
At the same time, the officials said Rex Tillerson had signed a waiver saying that $195 million in military assistance to Egypt is in the U.S. national interest but had decided to hold off on spending it. Under federal law, Tillerson had until the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 30, to either sign the waiver, certify that Egypt is meeting the human rights conditions or return the money to the Treasury. The waiver gives Egypt additional time to meet the requirements for the $195 million, which Congress appropriated for fiscal year 2016.
When Trump met with el-Sissi in the White House in April he made no mention of Egypt's human rights record in the post-meeting statement, an omission that many took as a sign that the issue was not a priority for the administration. Yet, two months later, two senators from Trump's Republican Party slammed as "draconian" the law that effectively bans the work of non-governmental organizations and urged that it be repealed.
Can you guess who those 2 senators are?
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called it “draconian legislation” and they said the US Congress should in response “strengthen democratic benchmarks and human rights conditions on the US assistance to Egypt.”
US Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and nine other senators sent Trump a letter on June 19 urging the president to press Sisi on the issue.
Unless I missed something, President John McCain is not in the White House. So why is Tillerson listening to him instead of to Trump?
According to Egyptian officials, this is an effort to stem funding to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Alaa Abed, chairman of the Free Egyptian Party’s parliamentary bloc, told The Daily Caller in a recent interview that although the idea behind NGOs is charitable and very needed in his country, a good number of them have taken a wrong turn.
“And the proof of that are the billions that have been given to these NGOs without any noticeable results that you can see,” Abed said.
According to Abed, about 48,000 NGOs are in Egypt and some are supported by the state. Of that number, though, “Only 500 receive foreign funds and 10 operate within the norms of the law…the rest (490) take the money into their pockets and 30 or 40 use the money to transfer to the [Muslim Brotherhood] or small terror cells.”
It obviously also starves some leftist NGOs of funds.
Why is McCain so agitated over it? The media won't tell you. Few sources will.
But McCain chairs the International Republican Institute. The IRI was a Reagan idea to fight Communism. It's since gone way off course and was involved in the Arab Spring. Sam LaHood was at the center of it. The international advisory board includes Mo Ibrahim whose daughter is a board member of the Clinton Foundation.
The question here is who is running the country. Whom did American vote for?
It was Trump who was running against nation building. Particularly of the ugly kind we're seeing here. But Tillerson is obeying President McCain instead of President Trump. Our foreign policy is still being made by the same old people. That's why the Iran deal is in place (and has not been made public), it's why Israel is still being pressured to make concessions to terrorists and there's yet more pressure on Egypt's President Sisi to open the door to the same folks who brought you the Arab Spring.
It's why Tillerson backed the Muslim Brotherhood's backers in Qatar while Trump initially backed pressure on the terror state.
T o change the outcome, you have to change the policy. To change the policy, you have to change the people. Under McMaster and Tillerson, the foreign policy will be set by President McCain, not President Trump.