Secretary of State John Kerry has made exactly the wrong move. Releasing $250 million in aid to Egypt’s fragile Muslim Brotherhood government -- based on nothing more than hopes and promises -- is the worst possible course of action and gives a hostile and repressive regime a lifeline at precisely the wrong time.
In fact, given the Muslim Brotherhood’s recent record, it’s impossible to believe any promises of “reform.”
As Egypt’s economy continues to crumble, and periodic violence flares in Cairo and in cities along the Suez canal, and Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi’s consistent priority has been pressing his radical anti-American and anti-Israel agenda. The list of the Muslim Brotherhood’s sins is long and growing:
- Egypt is violently persecuting its Coptic Christian minority, even going so far as arresting small children for allegedly defiling the Koran.
- Its security forces failed in their legal responsibility to protect the American embassy as protestors stormed the embassy, tore down the American flag, and replaced it with the black flag of jihad.
- Egypt is now becoming not just a source of terrorists but also a launching pad for terror attacks; deadly terror attacks have been launched against Israel from Egyptian soil and Egyptian terrorists were present in the 2012 Benghazi attack and in the recent attack and violence in Algeria.
- Despite getting credit for brokering the Israel/Hamas cease fire last November, Egypt loudly and publicly backed Hamas, a terrorist organization and a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Egypt has passed a Shariah-based constitution that restricts religious freedom and provides a legal basis for continued persecution of Egypt’s embattled Christian minority.
- Fox News recently reported that Egyptian authorities denied the U.S. direct access to a Benghazi terrorist suspect, a shocking act from an alleged “ally.”
- Finally, let’s not forget that Egypt’s president is a blatant and outspoken anti-Semite who calls Jews the “descendants of apes and pigs” and said that Egyptian children should be “nursed” on “hatred” for Israel.
Egypt’s repressive failures have become so obvious that even the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman has begun to sour on Egypt’s version of the so-called “Arab Spring” (more like an Islamist Winter).
The Muslim Brotherhood’s ruthlessness is matched only by its own economic incompetence. As the people grow restless, the Morsi government is looking for something, anything, to validate and consolidate its hold on power.
Fortunately for the Mohammed Morsi, the U.S. State Department is there to lend a hand.
In addition to this recent infusion of cash – courtesy of the American taxpayer – the U.S. has given the Brotherhood something more valuable than cash: modern weaponry.
Just as Egypt seethed with unrest, the Muslim Brotherhood and American embassy staff celebrated the delivery of four new American-made F-16 fighter jets, the first batch of 20 new jets – a $213 million gift from American taxpayers. The celebration reportedly even included glossy American photos of the deadly and agile jets staged under a huge Egyptian flag.
Some have justified this delivery on the basis that the Egyptian military is a force for moderation, but it is now firmly under President Morsi’s control after he fired its Mubarak-era leadership.
Others claim that we’re obligated to deliver the weapons under the terms of the Camp David accords, yet Egypt has breached the Accords repeatedly since the Arab Spring – even to the point of moving tanks into the Sinai.
Every new F-16 or tank delivered to Egypt is another weapon that can be used to consolidate the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip on power. Every new dollar of economic aid buys the Brotherhood more time. For Mohammed Morsi, this aid represents far more than a marginal increase in military and economic strength, it also represents an American seal of approval and a stamp of legitimacy on his repressive regime. Every F-16 is a propaganda victory for the Morsi regime.
Egypt still has a chance for moderation. After all, few things cure radical impulses better than the experience of radical rule, and the country does have a long recent history of peace with Israel. But moderation will be infinitely more difficult to achieve if we arm and aid its most dangerous enemies.
As Egypt still struggles to determine its destiny, if we put our thumb on the scales at all, we must not do so in favor of jihadists. The Muslim Brotherhood needs our weapons and our money. We do not need the Muslim Brotherhood.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He’s a New York Times bestselling author. Jay's latest book “Undemocratic: Rogue, Reckless and Renegade: How the Government is Stealing Democracy One Agency at a Time” (Feb 2) is available now. He hosts "Jay Sekulow Live"-- a daily radio show which is broadcast on more than 850 stations nationwide as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.