Top US officer cautions against cut to Egypt aid

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, February 4, 2011 11:25 EDT
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WASHINGTON – The US military’s top officer on Friday cautioned against moves to cut off aid to Egypt due to the unrest against the government of President Hosni Mubarak.

“I would just caution against doing anything until we really understand what’s going on,” Admiral Mike Mullen said in an interview on ABC News.

Mullen was asked about a possible freeze to the vast US military and economic aid to Egypt, a move that Republican Senator John McCain has said is under consideration.

“That’s not mine to decide,” said Mullen. “But at the same time, I’d like to understand a little bit more about what’s going on before we took any specifics.”

For years Egypt has been the second largest recipient of US foreign aid after Israel — with 1.3 billion dollars annually in military assistance.

US officials believe that years of training and instruction for Egytpian officers at American defense colleges has helped shape attitudes in the military, making them reluctant to use force against their compatriots.

Aside from hardware, the aid has “established a relationship … of great strength” between the US and Egyptian military, Mullen said.

“And there’s some intangibles associated with that, tied to how they handle themselves and how they focus and what they understand about who they should be, which are very, very positive.”

Mullen described the US military aid to Egypt as “an investment that’s paid off over a long period of time.”

McCain is leading a growing chorus of calls in the US Congress for Mubarak to step down immediately, a stiffening of criticism for the longtime US ally.

In another interview on Thursday, with “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Mullen said Egyptian officers had “reassured” him their forces will not fire on protesters.

He said he was working to keep communication channels open with the Egyptian military — a pivotal player in the crisis — and expressed hope for an end to violent scenes on the streets.

“I mean in the discussions I’ve had with their military leadership, they’ve reassured me that they have no intent to fire on their own people,” he said.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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  • http://twitter.com/FigaroLucowski FigaroLucowski

    US should cut aid to both Israel & Eygpt, Israel is rich in Industry & Mubarak has pocketed most the aid he is worth 60 billion US

  • Taleisin

    I would think, now would be a good time not to send hardware, or ammo.
    But then, I’m not a warmongering capitalist.

  • http://gaia-health.com/ Heidi Stevenson

    US officials are fools if they believe that the US money has made the Egyptian military soft. The Egyptian military is split. Those at the head – the ones who’ve benefitted from US money – have always supported Mubarak, and very likely have been part of the suppression. But, the rank and file military are from the people – often drafted. The military leadership is afraid that, if they order the ranks to attack the people, they might join them, instead.

  • http://gaia-health.com/ Heidi Stevenson

    It’s frightening that US officials would consider it normal to use military force against their own populace. It’s a terrifying change of attitude in the US that people need to become aware of – AND START PROTESTING!

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Corrupt criminals corrupt media.

    the real 9/11 investigation
    the real 9/11 evidence