Senator Ben Cardin Threatens to Block Military Aid to Egypt Amid Human Rights Concerns, Following Federal Indictment and Growing Pressure
On Saturday, Senator Ben Cardin, the leader of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pledged to halt military assistance and weapons trade with Egypt unless significant actions are taken to enhance human rights within the nation. (Photo: The New York Times)
Senator Ben Cardin Takes Strong Stand, Threatens Military Aid Blockade to Egypt Over Human Rights Concerns
According to Algemeiner article, Senator Ben Cardin, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a stern warning on Saturday, vowing to obstruct military aid and arms sales to Egypt unless concrete actions are taken to improve human rights within the country. His statement emphasized the importance of holding governments accountable for their human rights violations, extending this responsibility to all nations.
This declaration from Senator Ben Cardin came shortly after Representative Gregory Meeks, a fellow Democrat and ranking member of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, requested the State Department to temporarily suspend a portion of military aid to Egypt, contingent on human rights compliance.
The intensified pressure on Egypt stems from the federal indictment on September 22 of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who had previously chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The indictment included allegations that Senator Menendez had accepted bribes in exchange for using his influence to support Egypt’s government. Menendez has firmly denied these allegations and pleaded not guilty.
READ ALSO: Slow Progress Of Ukrainian Troops’ Counteroffensive Raises Concerns About Western Military Training
Senator Ben Cardin Sets Clear Demands for Egypt
According to Reuters, despite these developments, the Egyptian embassy in Washington remained silent in response to Senator Ben Cardin’s announcement. Cardin, now at the helm of the Senate panel, laid out specific expectations for Egypt, including expediting the release of political prisoners and creating an environment conducive to human rights defenders, civil society advocates, political opposition figures, and independent media.
Senator Ben Cardin expressed his commitment to exercising the committee’s oversight responsibilities and utilizing his authority to block future foreign military funding and arms sales to Egypt unless tangible, substantial, and sustainable measures to improve human rights are taken.
The situation highlights the ongoing debate over U.S. military aid to Egypt, with the Biden administration recently waiving human rights restrictions on a portion of the aid, citing national security considerations, while still withholding $85 million of the $1.3 billion allocated annually for Egypt.