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Capitol Corner: Unending Unrest in Egypt


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For more than two years, the world has watched what appears to be unending unrest in Egypt. Free elections, protests, and the rise and fall of extremists have marked their country's progress as both tumultuous and monumental.

In order to understand where we are now, it's important to understand how Egypt got here. Egypt was ruled by a dictator for three decades. After protestors took to the streets two years ago, we saw the Mubarak regime crumble and free elections were held for the first time in Egypt in 30 years, and in 2012 the Egyptian people elected a member of the Muslim Brotherhood party, Mohamed Morsi, to be their president. It is widely known that the Muslim Brotherhood has ties to terrorist organizations and many feared this election could result in a push of their extremist agenda. Unfortunately those fears were realized. One year after taking office, Egypt suffered from high unemployment and a struggling economy while the Muslim Brotherhood-led government focused on implementing Islamic law rather than helping their citizens.

Protests began to break out and there was unrest in the region. On July 3, Egypt's military chief announced that Morsi had been removed from the presidential office. Although the Obama Administration has yet to publically use the phrase "military coup', there are those who are concerned by the actions taken by Egypt's military. Whether we liked them or not, the Muslim Brotherhood was the democratically elected leaders at the time.

There is widespread speculation of what will happen to Egypt next. Egypt's current state is sensitive, and the region's stability is important to America's national security. Earlier this year, I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama and Secretary Kerry to urge them to delay the shipment of F-16s to the Egyptian military. I'm also a cosponsor of H.R. 276, the Suspend Aid to Egypt bill, which immediately freezes foreign aid to Egypt. On top of that, I'm a cosponsor of H.R. 416, the Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act, which states that the US can only use its foreign assistance for Egypt to advance US national security interests in Egypt, including the encouraging of the advancement of political, economic, and religious freedom from Egypt.

It is extremely important that we make sure foreign aid doesn't fall into the wrong hands -- especially when it comes to American-made weapons. I fully support and encourage democracy throughout the world and will continue to monitor what is happening in Egypt, but this is an internal struggle in that country and the United States should remain neutral in the fight as we still do not know who all comprises the groups opposing Morsi.

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