U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressing concerns and raising a number of questions regarding the Administration's recent notification to Congress of its intent to provide $450 million in cash transfers to the Muslim Brotherhood led government of Egypt. Chairman Ros-Lehtinen's letter also asks the Administration numerous questions about its current policy on Egypt with regard to democracy assistance, protection of minority communities, and human rights. Text of the letter follows:
Dear Madam Secretary:
We are writing to raise concerns about the Administration's recent notification of a broad economic aid package to the Government of Egypt.
In the wake of the breach of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the nature of the Egyptian response, we are very concerned with respect to the overall direction of the transition on Egypt. We cannot watch one form of authoritarianism go by the wayside in Egypt just to see a new Islamist dictatorship take its place. The role of the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist groups in Egypt's new government is damaging Egypt's relationship with the United States and with its allies in the region, particularly Israel. That is why it is critical that these extremist groups are not permitted to hijack the transition process and impose a new kind of totalitarianism in Egypt; if they do, the United States should not be funding them.
In this respect, rewarding the actions of the current government with increased economic assistance, debt forgiveness, or enterprise funds without stringent conditions and tangible deliverables on the part of the Egyptian government would be a grave error. As Egypt's Islamist leadership increasingly takes control of the country, placing Muslim Brotherhood members as provincial governors and installing radical Islamists in the state's top human rights body and state-controlled media, we are concerned for the future of both Egyptian minorities and secular, pro-democracy activists.
These concerns raise a number of questions:
Ultimately, what are the Administration's policy goals with respect to Egypt? Is it the Administration's intent to enable the Muslim Brotherhood's consolidation of power within Egypt? How would providing this assistance not enable their consolidation of power?
What political and economic conditions is the Administration applying to this assistance? What specific actions are you requesting that the Government of Egypt take prior to receiving this assistance?
What is the specific intended impact of this assistance? Are you able to provide a comprehensive analysis of the intended political and economic effects of this assistance?
Will the Administration fully fund secular, pro-democracy activists? What is the current status of the trials for American, Egyptian and international non-governmental organizations? Have you conditioned U.S. assistance accordingly?
Until the Administration can provide adequate answers to the Congress on the issues of concern cited above, you will encounter significant opposition to any economic assistance package to the Government of Egypt.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN JIM JORDAN
House Committee on Foreign Affairs House Republican Study Committee