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tv   Former State Department Officials Testify on U.S. Humanitarian Aid in Egypt  CSPAN  April 28, 2017 8:42am-10:06am EDT

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more and more it looked to us that egypt is becoming a country that sucks up aid a lot more
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from the gulf states than from us, as you know, while treating the aid as an entitlement that simply must continue and continue and continue. about the only country -- well, there's a long-stantding egyptian not to tear up the treaty with israel. i guess that's one thing that we get. at this point in the history of the israeli egyptian relationship is something that sustained itself. it's not something they do for us. their influence has been largely negative. after receiving $70 billion of assistance i'm sure you noticed there's not a single egyptian
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f-16 it is ways that probably make it probably worse rather than better. this video that has already been mentioned a couple of times, i think in addition to showing something grewsome shows how counter productive it is. it is a window into whether young men who may or may not be executed and passed off as casualties in a battlefield fight so that the army can look good. we know from history that's a way to lose a fight like this, not to win. i think almost any observer of the cc government would agree that over the last two or three years the primary priority of the egyptian military has not been to fight terrorism or to
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improve governments. it has been to make sure that what happened in 2011, something like that could never ever ever ever happen again in egypt and that the power of the military over the country's politics and economics is not challenged again. as a result they have concentrated as much on persecuting their political opponents, peaceful protesters, the very people in the country who are most likely to despise jihaddism. we know tens of thousands of others behind bars for nothing more than having attended a demonstration or being members of a political party.
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that young italian student who disappeared in cairo last year. it basically makes it illegal for them to function unless they get permission for every single thing they do from the government. we have had a steady presence of
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propostrous and pernicious propaganda in the state media. the same government that comes up here and lobbies for less restrictions in assistance back home in egypt treats anybody who seeks to get support and partnership from the united states a a criminal. what should we do in light of all of these problems? i think we need to have realistic expectations. only egyptians can solve this.
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we should have zero tolerance for continued american propaganda and for the persecution of individuals or ngo's for association with americans. i'll say this half tongue in cheek. you can call this an america first human rights. these are things they will demand. number two, avoid complicity in these abuses. enforce the law. be very wary. i would encourage you all of any proposals to try to strengthen counter terrorism and
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intelligence sharing in these abuses. they will abuse the partnerships in addition to the people. third, avoid reenforcing the egyptian sense that aid is an entitlement. so cash flow financing, we should not go back to that. and then the big question is what do you do about military assistance? who do we do about the $1.3 billion? i think it would be a disparaging choice to go back to providing that unconditionally. it would be helping buy weapons that are ill suited to meet weapons it faces while reenforcing and kicking the serious problems down the road again. the 15% currently with held. it would send a modest disapproval.
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the third option would be to step back and ask whether or investment is appropriate given the value we get from it and opportunities we face elsewhere. my strong view is that it is completely out of balance. does its really make sense which consistently rejects our advice, which describes us as a hostile enemy to receive such a disproportionate of u.s. military aid. i agree we should taylor what we provide to actual counter insurgency operations in places if they are willing to accept it which i'm not sure if they would under those terms and think about where else in the region and the world our partnerships are appreciated and our money can do actual good in the fight against terrorism. thank you very much. >> thank you. we'll do seven minute rounds. mr. abrams, i talked to riz
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y'a -- israel recently. there's proelk better cooper than there has ever been. >> i hear reports where we sipgs helicopters are flying to confront isis. >> i have heard those reports. >> so on the good side it seems like on the security front that is productive. tell us about the ngo law very briefly, if you could. what are the requirements of this new law they passed? >> well, they have gotten tighter and tighter.
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but basically a whole range of day-to-day activities that you need to conduct. so first of all those requirements give the government the opportunity to say no and to shut down particular activities. but even if the government is not so inclined, the mere fact you have to constantly ask for permission to do things, it makes it virtually impossible to function. it is impossible not to be in violation of something at any given moment. it means at any given moment if the government wants to shut you down it can.
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it's also true americans have been convicted in egyptian court of being spies. is that true? >> it is true. these are not -- >> right. so i talked extensively about this. i appreciate what the egyptian government did. clearly i think there were trumped up charges. she was acquitted within a few days of a visit. so much we can't control what happens in the judiciary. in terms of the future of egypt, without some economic reforms and without economic growth, what's going to happen in egypt? what does it matter to us if
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egypt becomes a failed state? that's what i feared the most is that we are headed that way. >> yes, senator, that's true. that danger is there. the employment problem in egypt is enormous. they have failing educational institutions, people coming out of secondary school without the basic skills needed to be in the global work force. those are major problems. that's what's really needed to create labor intensive to put egyptians to work. without that you have a growing population. the growing population i think is also related to the fact that
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young women can't get jobs. some times they have big families. so this is -- it's hard to see where this is going and what the government keeps doing -- and i think he referred to this, is just trying to attract more and more external financing to keep them afloat. they need a productive economy. >> i think it is a possibility that you would see more disorder because for one thing as dr.
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dunn says economic conditions are deteriorating. you could see more bread riots. you could see a detoeriorationd. it produces more of an uprising. >> we assume it because it's been there. i don't think it's a good asefrpgs given what i know. >> right. i don't think egypt has been stable for the last six years. i think it would be foolish for me to make predictions about when the next political rising will be. we have no idea. we do know that this is a country that will demonstrate surface stability until it doesn't. and because of its size, because of its volatility the
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consequences could be quite great. >> thank you all. >> thank you very much. sorry for being late. i think the economy is fortunate to have the views them. the question is, where is it going?
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being cyber attacked by someone. >> let me try a different microphone. it will include excess defense equipment that runs into billions more. certainly they seem generally unaware. they present how the aid has been used has popped up a lot of repressive actions and the younger generations see no
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prospects for jobs. now, their position gee graphically does give importance. i don't know if it gives enough importance for the billions of dollars we spend there. they have thousands of members of political opposition teams. groups get imprisoned. members of sefl society organizations are accused of crimes they are detained for years. when critics of the government are tortured and killed, when u.s. officials are denied access to areas where u.s. weapons are being used amid-ports of war crimes i think we have to ask some basic questions. now, you have heard me ask these
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questions before, but what are the egyptians plan to do with civil society groups? did they use anti terrorism laws to arrest these people? how should we react? do they have effective steps on our aid? what is our 1.3 billion in aid? what do they face that justify this and even if they have it, how is it being spent or is it just i would agree to this -- or it just goes by? you know, i want egypt to succeed but not in a way where
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everybody is being repressed, give us the money, give us the aid, give us the equipment. we are not going to tell you how we are going use it. i want you to know an awful lot of members in the senate i'm sure you had a lot of meetings. how did they respond? was anything useful? i have been in meetings with you and i heard you ask pretty good questions. did you get pretty good answers? go ahead. >> my job was talking to authoritarian governments around the world. i have to say, the meetings with
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the government of egypt were amongst the least productive and most unpleasant in my time at the state department. >> a lot where you're talking to somebody who you feel like they have got to best interest of are their country in mind. in the case of egypt it's just angry rude denial of all problems and how dare you u.s. government official raise these things with us and where is our money? thank you very much, good-bye. >> that's giving them the benefit of the doubt. >> yeah. i don't have to be as diplomatic anymore as i used to be. you know, this is why i have come to the conclusion that probably more endless hours of
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attempted persuasion are not going to get us very far. what we need with the government of egypt is a bit of a time out. we get out of this entitlement mentality where they think every part of the relationship is something that we owe them. it is there to do something positive rather than an aid program that we provide because of what we fear they will do if we some how cut them off. >> what happens when -- i have raised criticism. they say look how hard we are working on isil, iraq, yemen, syria. >> certainly not in syria or
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yemen. it is probably making the problem worse, not wetter. they face a serious security threat. their soldiers and police getting blown up. i would like to be able to help them with that threat. what they have been absolutely resistant to doing is taking the advice that our military and our national security professionals have tried to offer with the equipment, with the training that our aid pays for. so you see these very ham handed tactics that, again, make the problem worse. >> and mr. chairman, my time is up. dr. dunn and mr. abrams, i have some questions that i'll submit for the record.
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i am very appreciative of it for both of you. i will add some other questions. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you all for joining us this afternoon. i'll try to do two or three quick questions. what's the consequence to an alteration of the aid we provide egypt and the relationship between egypt and israel? the historic connection there exists. would you expect any consequences if we alter the aid we provide egypt? >> i would not, senator. we saw even during the period when there was some fear that he would completely change the relations with israel he didn't really touch that. good relations are in the interests of egypt, the army understands that. they are getting help.
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i think the answer is knno impa. >> anyone disagree? >> i don't disaglree but i woul like to sad something, senator. i think there's a good and bad side to the egyptian israeli side. the good is security to security operation. the not so good side is the people to people side, the civilian side, this is very weak and very cold. i agree with mr. abrams that the aid that the u.s. provides no longer drives this. i would point out that there was a period during the obama administration shortly after the military cue of 2013 in which much of the military assistance was suspended for more than a year. i mean that was the hay day of egyptian relations. i think it really proved the point that the relationship now has its own logic, its own dynamic. >> thank you.
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i was looking for that kind of rereassurance. you indicated about what's occurring regarding ngo's. what's the rational? what benefits the egyptian dw t government? why is that a benefit to them? >> well, parts of it are more logical in a nasty way than others. certainly if there's an ngo working on anti torture and your police and security forces are engaged you may not want it running around and making its reports. ngo's that work on human rights issues. on any matter or anti corrupt n corruption, any matter which the government is likely to be exposed for doing bad things. it's natural that authoritarian
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state would want to bring those under control. what tis interesting and perhap a bit less rational is this crack down has encompassed organizations working on what you might think are politically sensitive issues but virtually all ngo's that operate from the state. one of the problems we had last year in our esf program was we had an ngo called rti, which is one of the big that was working on education programs in egypt. totally nonpolitical. that organization became subject to a massive campaign of public vilification in the egyptian state media. they are corrupting our youth.
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all a campaign against american funding of ngo's. so the government uses this kind of nationalism, anti americanism to vilify ngo's of all stripes. and in that case it resulted in first secretary kerry pleading, please, take our aid. do us the favor of taking our money. in the end they wouldn't do it. they were willing to take it if we wrote them a check but they didn't want us to do it through an independent ngo. one of the best decisions was to say all right. to heck with it we'll spend that money in iraq, tunisia, where we are partners who want to work with us. >> thank you very much. >> mr. abrams you mentioned we jupt is purchasing russian
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special forces have been dispatched to the best earn desert. there has within a lot of concern about russia asserts itself in the middle east. what's the consequences based upon decisions we might make? >> i think one would have to say there would be something of an opening for the russians. they, unlike the goulf states - we give about a billion and a half a year, russians will not give them that kind of money but they would be willing to make loans and arms equipment and throw their weight around in cairo. the thing is they can't really replace us in terms of technical assistance. but i think we would have to
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knowledge that we might see a kind of resentful government of egypt talking to the russians more. they are doing for the first time in history they are doing now a military exercise with the russians in the western desert. they are doing that already while the aid hasn't been cut back a cent. you might see more of that. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing to all of our witnesses for your testimony. just to follow up a little bit, might we expect that cc would go back to the days where egypt played off russia against the united states in terms of future assistance? >> i think you would see him threatening to do that it's hard
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for them. we would love to see this. for putin it would be a dream come true. i think we have to knowledge there is a danger of egyptians moving in that direction. >> did you want to comment on that? then all kinds would play us off. if you're not nice to us we'll go to beijing.
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i hope we don't allow ourselves -- this is a pumuch bigger question. i hope we don't allow our decisions to be influenced too often by that kind of calculus. all we would be doing is to empower them to get what they want by making that trip to moscow and being pictured with putin and then scaring us into giving him more. i don't think that's in our interest. >> thank you. dr. dunn, did you want to add something? >> yes. i think this is already happening in effect. i think it will happen even if we continue providing the military aid at the full level that it clearly admires putin a great deal. he said openly from the beginning that he approved of the russian intervention and would feel the same way about
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libya, that he is ramping up the relationship with russia in a number of ways. so i think he is going to move forward with that relationship even if we provide all of the aid. >> thank you. to follow up i was struck by your testimony where you point out that egypt is moving to a state where even more so that the interest of the few are what overrides decision making as opposed to interest of the many. remembering the press reports about the brief time in which is islamic state controlled egypt. and there were a number of reports about mainstream egyptian society.
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i'm probably using the wrong terms identifying who was concerned about that. there was definitely -- there were reports that there were many egyptians who were not happy with that situation and who were feeling relieved when cc actually took back control in egypt. so to what extent do we think the egyptian people are happy with what cc is doing and the direction he is heading and how do we speak to those -- to the people of egypt in terms of the support that we want to provide? >> thank you, senator. look, i think that, you know, it's certainly true that while he was president of egypt it was a very brief time. it was a year. there were -- you know, there were concerned -- >> yes. i think i said islamic statement. i meant the brotherhood.
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thank you for correcting me. >> there were concerns among those that don't consider themselves islamics that the brotherhood would try to bring about different expressions of islamic law or things like that. there were definitely concerns. now, the brotherhood was in power a very brief time. they didn't have time to do any of that. we can imagine what they would have done. what they did do, which gram indicated earlier, was to overplay their hand. they did a number of undemocratic things. they sort of man handled the egyptian judiciary and forced through a constitution that a lot of egyptians didn't agree with. it's true. there were a lot of public resentment and opposition. but i think unfortunately what the military did was use that to not only remove but to end the
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democratic transition. i don't think that's what most egyptians wanted. people went out in the mills in june 2013 calling for a new presidential election. they wanted a chance to vote again on whether he should continue his tomorrow or not. that's not what they got. they got an end to the whole thing and restore ration in a much more brutal way. cc is growing increasingly unpopular. there's not much polling in egypt now days but the little there is shows that because of his failure to deliver what he promised either in terms of security or in terms of improving the economy they are becoming disenchanted. at this point because he has thrown so many people in prison and we limb gneliminated they d many alternatives from which to choose. >> thank you. you -- the recent visit by
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president cc saw the white house saying they didn't want to make human rights an issue, a publish issue. they preferred to work behind the scenes. president trump suggested that. is that a good approach when it comes to human rights issues in egypt? >> you won't be shocked to hear me saying no. it's not just the impact on egypt that i'm concerned about. i'm some what pessimistic about the ability in any way right now. i would often find people would throw certain examples of american relationships with other countries in my face and egypt was one of them. you know, you're here, you're criticizing us and urging us to do this and that. in egypt you're propping up.
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i would explain it's much more complicated and with holding some aid. the point is when the whole world sees the spectacle of the egyptian general coming to the white house and being praised in such a way by the president of the united states and then the statement that we won't talk about human rights publicly. i'm afraid it effects perceptions of what we stand for in the hearts and minds of people in every part of the world in a negative way. i'm glad they god out of prison. >> thank you all. >> thank you for convening the hearing and for our assembled witnesses for testifying today.
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it is reminder of promoting regional security, supporting american values and defending human rights in a country that has received more than $70 billion in u.s. by lateral aid. many of the topics i thought i would address have already been discussed. there were funds but never got
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final approval to continue their work. why is egypt delaying these funds and why should we continue to provide funds when there is such a dramatic backlog? that's real money and could make a significant difference in a country that has so many basic challenges addressing the human needsover i of its people. >> thank you, senator. yes. unf unfortunately there is a history of problems between the united states government and egyptian government in getting the economic support funds spent in a productive way. one thing, there have been disagreements about economic reforms, government resistance but then puzzlingly even when there was agreement on steps to be taken there was even, you know, specific programs agreed
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upon and signed and so forth we jipgs ministries there are times when the egyptian government has on ju obstructed the implementation. he was referring to such a program of educational assistance that was to have been implemented by rti. and so i think what this gets down to is a couple of things. one thing is that there is a deep soozenephobia. they fight hard of foreign organizations, nongovernmental organizations and so forth. they will try to block it because of deep suspicion. the other thing is that basically there are parts of the egyptian government. they really want the aid in
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cash. some times they will try to stone wall programs in the hopes that it will eventually be delivered as cash budgets. there is a long history of this. if f you would permit me, my own feeling about this is this would usefully be converted into something like for example a fund for scholarships, for university, educational scholarships for egyptians, for the kind of training that they need with a minimum of egyptian government involvement. >> interesting. >> so a while back president cc made a speech in which he mentioned a concept known as -- that he referred to as fourth generation warfare. what he meant by that was an
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effort by the united states and other western countries to destroy egypt from within. i'm using their terms. it is through these kinds of assistance programs, spreading western ideals, democratic ideals, etcetera. we had a talk with him about that during the former administration and about the broader problem of this anti-american propaganda. and we didn't hear as much of that personally from him subsequently. but certainly in the egyptian state media these kinds of attacks on our aid providers including rti continued to the point where it became very very difficult for them to continue to do their work.
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they worried about their safety of their employees amongst other things. i agree it would be a great way. it would be the thing probably above all that ordinary egyptians would appreciate. i'm not sure if we could implement it. you have to have people there to do the selection abdomnd figure who gets what. i don't know if we could do that without risk. >> i have just a minute and a half left. two other questions and i'll invite you to answer all of these in one move, if you could.
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>> part of the problems of the international cooperation in cairo, which is about the least coop rative on the face of the earth. i will leave the mb answer to others. it would be a very foolish move. egypt is not going to be stable if there is nothing in it but the army and the opposition to the army. and if all of the civil society organizations that represent not just egyptians but represent american values as it turns out in egypt like freedom of press and freedom of speech, freedom of association, free trade
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unions are crushed that will weaken stability in egypt not only in the long run. >> first of all, no. i don't believe the evidence exists. first of all, there isn't anything really globally called the muslim brotherhood. i don't think the evidence exists they are carrying out actions they could meet activity. second after all, i would say if the u.s. decide todd to designat would be handing a major victory to isis. they are the ones who have argued that only violence works and those islamists were fools. >> thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you to the panel for
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coming today. foreign assistance can serve as an effective tool of american foreign policy and advance just interest abroad, whether it be economic and military support. that being said it's essential programs are open, trance parent in an accountable fashion or use by inappropriate recipients. the significance of accountability was further highlighted by terrorist attacks. ensuring the u.s. taxpayer dollars does not end up in the wrong hands is of most importance. in terms of political stability what do you see as potential best and worse case scenarios for the next two to three years? >> thank you, senator.
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look, the best case scenario would be that some sort of a return to a more open political process in which more people can par tis pa-- participate, a cha the economic policies towards something that's a little more private sector oriented and/or ye -- and oriented towards -- but i haven't seen any indications that thins are going that way. the worst case scenario, you know, there is a possibility of sort of political unrest similar to what happened in 2011. what is worse than that is if the insurgency that is based and the individual cells related to isis that we see starting to pop up in the egyptian mainland were to really take off, you know,
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into a kind of a larger insurgency. that's my fear about the egyptian government's approach right now, that they are driving towards this insurgeon si. >> thank you. >> so when you think about the u.s. relationship with egypt what are the potential benefits as risks ahead of the next presidential election? >> yes, senator. as you point out so president cc's term ends in may of 2018, about a year from now. i think the united states has to be careful about the signal that we send. we should be supporting egypt as the nation. the egyptians as a people and, you you know, making a vote for a positive future for egypt without endorsing necessarily
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president cc himself or the specific policies he is pursuing. many of them are quite troubling. >> and you state that the egyptian military remains a force designed to conduct conventional war, not to fight terrorism. with that in mind the previous administration proposed to require military assistance and i would quote counter terrorism shlgs border security, and meritime security. are these appropriate and effective conditions? >> i think it's the right idea. the problem in part is that may be what we direct or aid to. if they are buying sub marines, which they do not need to combat terrorism, buying high performance combat jets they are
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wasting an awful lot of resources. i think what the obama administration did is the right thing to do. i would hope that the congress would continue it. >> so along that line, then wha other conditions might you recommend to insure that u.s. assistance is used effectively and does advance our interests? >> first, we continue to insist it be used on a certain kind of program, a certain kind of weapon system. i also think they need more training to do this in a way that suggests that they are killing terrorists, rather than civilians. and the egyptian military has said, it's in the testimony, they've killed 2,500 isis people in sinai and captured 2,500. that's 5,000. but cia estimates there's only
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about 5,000 anyway. i think we ought to have conversations with the egyptian military where they're most honest with us and in which they're not creating jihadis, by attacking civilians in sinai. creating sympathy for the sinai province of isis. >> many of us were back home the last couple of weeks, and if you talked to the man or woman on the street, if they were here on this diasa and asked the questioned why should america care? how would you respond talking to the person on the street? as oftentimes we're having to justify, we go back home, the significant amount of dollars that's sent overseas. >> terrorism doesn't stay in the middle east. we're talking about terrorist groups, the strength or weakness
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of terrorist groups that seek ultimately to attack the united states. whether a billion three for egypt looking at the global question of combatting terrorism, whether a billion three for egypt can be defended today is a lot harder to explain to your constituents. >> dr. dunne, egypt's economy has grown in recent decades, pointed that out. it still faces challenged in private sector growth. unemployment, especially for young people. egyptians under the age of 30. how would you recommend the united states help boost egypt's economy? and do you see opportunities in the ag and potentially natural resource sectors? >> thank you, senator. so i've already mentioned that i do think the united states should support human development, the development of the egyptian labor force. so young egyptians coming into the market have good skills through our education, you know,
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which is highly valued. on the job creation side, you know, we really have this problem with egyptian government policies not supporting -- not changing their policies in such a way as to support the private sector, small and medium enterprised could be -- the agricultural sectors is one of the promising sectors in egypt. what we can do i think -- we've been trying to do things through the egyptian american enterprise fund. the united states, you know, has established this fund. and, you know, i think it's starting to do some things that set a good example of how one would encourage small and medium enterprised and so forth. admittedly this is a tough one. several administrations have tried and not been successful in getting the egyptian government to change its policies in such a way as to really generate jobs. it's a very tough one.
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what we can do is try to set a good example and do the best thing we can. do a little bit of good with the amount of aid that we're comfortable providing. >> thanks, dr. dunne, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you all for your testimony today. dr. dunne, i think you're right on the mark when you said there's absolutely no way the egyptian people bargained for the kind of repressive regime that they have today, 60,000 political prisoners, journalists being locked up. that's not what the egyptian people asked for. i can also sense all of us are obviously frustrated. because we are struggling with how we can better use our leverage and influence with egypt, which over a period of time has been a close ally of the united states. and i think you all made the case very well that the united states is less reliant on egypt sort of standing in the region.
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i think it's fair to say from egypt's perspective they're less reliant on the united states given the amount of money they're getting from the gulf states and other potential limits. it's not to say we don't have leverage. so this committee's going to have to make specific decisions on where we go on military assistance and economic assistance. thank you, dr. dunne for your suggestions with respect to the economic assistance. i'd like to get from all of you where you stand on the following things. should congress put in a restriction that continues the obama administration's prohibition on the cash flow financing? should we put that in the legislation? yes? all three yes, okay. senator dans raised the question about limiting the military assistance to the four pillars that the obama administration had laid out. the counterterrorism, border security, sinai security,
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maritime security, mr. abrams, you pointed out there is a lot of flexibility in those categories. based on your testimony, it sounds to me like you all might support actually a tightening of those categories and making it even more focused on counterterrorism, sinai, maybe some strict border security type actions. is that the case? >> yes. >> all right. >> yes. and i would add access to the sinai for our people. i would add for journalists ngo's would be an important of this. if we're going to be serious about counterinsurgency there's got to be accountability that goes with that. one of the outrageous demands we made was if we're going to be giving you all this help in the sinai, maybe you should allow our people to go there and see
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what's going on. and that was not received with great enthusiasm. >> i hear you. >> dr. dunne? >> yes, i mean, look, you know, the gao report from a year ago spoke about the serious problems the united states has made with end use monitoring and human rights vetting. you know, they're required by our laws based on obstruction by the egyptian government. i think we need to take another look at that and be serious about that, especially in view of these very troubling recent reports about extra judicial killings. >> got it. would you all support a continuation of the 15% withholding unless there's a certification that the egyptian government is making progress toward more democracy and human rights? >> actually i'd raise it. because last year has been really horrendous for human rights. so i would at least ask you to consider going to 20 or 25. >> i would agree with that.
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i think also that at a more basic level, as long as we continue to keep the $1.3 billion in fmf on autopilot and they know that's going to be approved every year and it's a question of how do we do it? that's another thing that sort of removes u.s. leverage. i think it's time for a sort of ground up assessment of what is really needed to help egypt effectively and in a way that we think we can monitor and respect our own laws and so forth in doing. >> i strongly agree with dr. dunne. keeping the 15% is better than nothing. but i think a much more fundamental assessment is needed. you know, the basic problem is that egypt is not view this assistance as having a policy purpose. this is not money that america is giving us to ehelp us achiev something. it's owed. it's part of a deal that was
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struck decades ago. and that mentality, i think, is what i could not explain to your constituents and it needs to be broken. >> fair enough. so provision extending the ban on the cash flow, financing. conditions that limit the aid that we do provide, the military assistance we do provide to even narrower category. and then expanding the withhold amount withheld or reducing the overall amount. based on the current conditions, would you -- in terms of the current conditions for withholding, do you have any suggestions there? do you think that the criteria are the right ones? >> i think i would need to look at them again in light of what's happening on the ground right now.
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i mean, i think they're the right categories, but we always want to try to hone them to the daily realities. >> okay. and so -- my last question is assuming the senate accepts these recommendations and we move forward with these conditions. obviously, the egyptian government won't like it. but what do you believe their reaction will be? do you think that they will move forward with us? using this leverage in the way we're talking about, i assume your judgment is this would be sort of a moment where we say to the egyptians, this is not on automatic pilot, we're serious about this and you believe that that will have -- in the long term -- a beneficial result? >> i don't think the egyptians are going to walk away. the aid is still very significant and it's very significant for the military, which is the president el sisi's base of support. you know, what will happen if you cut the aid, you meaning the
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congress, is if the administration will play good c cop/bad cop which is potentially in a useful way. >> i would add to that, senator, clearly president el sisi's eager to have a good relationship with president trump. he has sort of sought that avidly from the time of the campaign until now. and so -- you know, and the administration has indicated that they're going to have a fresh look at aid. i was struck by the fact that during president el sisi's visit he did not get a promise, it seems from the administration to keep aid on autopilot. there's a moment here, i think that can be used to redefine the relationship in a way that's more in our interests. >> good. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you all for a very, very helpful hearing as we try to go forward. we're about to do, hopefully this week fy 17. we'll take all this in terms of fy 18. it's going to be a real budget struggle. we've got to find a way to
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replace the sequestation caps, 29% cut to the state department is unacceptable. but the reason we have this hearing is that we all care. i care about egypt. i want to have a good relationship with egypt. i'm not asking egypt to do what i'm telling them. i'm asking egypt to listen to their people that went out in the streets in 2011. to me, this is not what they bargained for. i don't think they got what they bargain bargain bargained for from the current administration. as to the taxpayer dollars we have, i think we're gaobligatedo spend them wisely, consistent with our values. as to what egypt might do, i don't know what they might need do. i just know what we need to do. we need to reshape the relationship in a way that's sustainable.
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a good outcome for egypt is a good outcome for us. what's the good outcome? that the military is a strong institution but not the most dominant player in the economy. and that political parties can form and people can have their voices heard without fear. these are simple things we take for granted but have stood the test of time. that's not the direction we're headed. as to what they might do with russia or any other country y hope they understand that we want to be friendly, but i don't think it's wise to hook your wagon to putin. i don't think he's long for this world. i think what he offers russia over time will be rejected. it's just a matter of time before the russian people realize that putin's played them for a few, ripped them off. put their country and their economy at risk. and i hope egypt will take a new direction. not march toward putin, but march away from him. march back to the square to where it all started.
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with that, the hearing is adjourned. we'll have the next hearing on may 9th on democracy programs. sometime later about the fy 2018 budget. thank you all for coming. the hearing is adjourned. we are live in new york this morning at the united nations, secretary of state rex tillerson will be chairing a u.n. security council meeting on north korea and looking into that country's ballistic missile programs. this hearing is about to get underway, live coverage here on cspan 3.
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