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Hannity

Should US taxpayer money aid Arab Spring countries?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The tension between Israel and Iran is escalating. This after two separate bombing attempts were made on Israeli diplomats in India and in the country of Georgia.

Now, four people were injured. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is certain that he knows who is behind the attacks. He told lawmakers quote, "Today, we witnessed two attempts of terrorism against innocent civilians. Iran is behind these attacks and it is the largest terror exporter in the world."

Iran however denies responsibility. Now, the violence comes after recent reports have surfaced that Israeli officials might be preparing for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Also today, we learn that the Obama administration plans to hand over $8 million in aid to Arab Spring countries.

Joining me now with reaction, Arizona Senator John McCain. Senator, welcome back, thanks for being with us.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, good to be with you. An interesting day.

HANNITY: First of all, $800 million. I don't even call it the Arab Spring anymore, it's the Arab winter. As you know, we have now seen elections in Egypt. Islamic radicals in power. Should we give one American taxpayer dollar to this cause?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, the Islamic -- extremists are not in power. Their power is still being wielded by the military junta that took over by the way who are they and the last vestiges of the Mubarak regime are the ones that are keeping Americans in the situation where they have to go to the U.S. embassy. So, it's not the Muslim Brotherhood that is doing this. It is the remains of the Mubarak regime.

Our relations-- very quickly -- are very important with Egypt. How Egypt goes, the rest of the Middle East will go. And it is in our interests to have good relations with Egypt. You might remember we broke off relations with Pakistan back in the '90s, that didn't turn out very well.

So, all I'm saying is that the relations are important. We need to help them move forward. And I'm very unhappy as Americans are about the treatment of our NGOs, the International Republican Institute and National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House. But for us not to be involved in that part of the world, I think would be a very serious mistake.

HANNITY: Well, let me ask you this, Senator. Because the New York Times reported over the weekend that in fact, you know, the Muslim Brotherhood is now seeking to oust the military leaders. They were now elected, Islamic radicals now have been elected by the people, they have said, prepare for war with Israel and they've also talk about implementing Sharia law as the law of the land. Don't we realize or recognize the danger of giving money that could be used against our closest ally there?

MCCAIN: I think that there is significant risk. I would point out in Tunisia, they had an election, it is a Muslim government. They are moderate and they are very friendly to the United States of America. That is the case where our assistance and their movement forward with free and fair elections, they don't have a dictator ruling them again.

In the case of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is split, Sean. They have not obtained power yet. There are groups of them that want to have good relations with us. They may be an Islamic country. Israel is a Jewish state.

So, let's wait and see and hope that we can guide them on the path to a country that is not ruled by a brutal dictator but has a democracy and all of those principles. And I'm not saying it's going turn out right, but I can tell you this, it was untenable the situation of Mubarak, the position that he was in. It was a matter of time before he was leaving.

HANNITY: All right. Granted, it was matter of time. He had been in power but he did kept peace with the Israelis for some 30 years. The Muslim Brotherhood --

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN: Wait a minute.

HANNITY: --- was saying prepare for war in Israel. Now, they and other extremists have been elected to power.

MCCAIN: Mubarak kept peace with Israel and in the meantime, pummeled them regularly, stirred up anti-Israel sentiment within Egypt in order to enhance his position in power.

HANNITY: And you don't think the Muslim Brotherhood is going to worse than that?

MCCAIN: I'm not clear whether -- how the Muslim brotherhood is going to be. There are other representatives in parliament. I know that they will be an elected government. And the question is, are they going to go other way to run win after one election? Or are they going to go the way that other countries that have thrown off the yoke of dictators are going to go. That's up for grabs.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Public opinion prior to the Arab Spring show that the Egyptian people, you know, in overwhelming numbers, 75 percent, wanted the theocracy, wanted the Sharia law as the law of the land. How can Sharia law be compatible with American values inasmuch as if we're going to give them $800 million when we can least afford it?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I'm not clear what kind of Sharia law they are going to impose. There are many secular and democratically inclined people who were part of that government. And we'll have to see. There are salafists (ph)that are extremists that are hopefully that they will not achieve power.

Mubarak regularly beat up on Israel. He stoked anti-Israel sentiment. Meanwhile, he kept the peace and he could not stay in power. The question is, is which way is Egypt going to go now and do we gain anything by cutting office assistance to Egypt which is not by the way, abrogated the treaty with Israel.

HANNITY: All right. Last question.

MCCAIN: Yes, can I just mention, Iran today real quick. Iran has proven, what we have seen today, that you mentioned in the opening, what we have seen today is the danger if Iran acquired nuclear weapons. As you know, they tried to assassinate someone right here in our nation's capital. This is the compelling challenge we've faced in the next weeks and months ahead my friend.

HANNITY: Well, I think the war has already started. It's percolating. We see that these nuclear scientists in Iran went after another just coincidentally disappear. And then these attacks today. Obviously, I would argue in some retaliation. But Iran has been funding proxy wars now against our own military and against Israel for some time. It seems inevitable and I really don't see the president stepping up to say, we've got to join with Israel and take out these nuclear sites sooner than later.

MCCAIN: You are exactly right. What about the scenario that just happened today with Iran having a nuclear weapon. And the fact is, you're right. We are going to have to draw a line for the Iranians that they understand and is credible. I'm curious whether this president, because of leading from behind, is credible with the Iranians.

HANNITY: All right. Senator, I appreciate you being with us. Pretty scary time. I appreciate you being here.

MCCAIN: Thank you my friend. Listen, I'm going over to Egypt and I'll be back. Good to be with you, then.

HANNITY: Senator, as far as I'm concerned, we have hostages being held there. I hope you bring them home with you.

MCCAIN: Thank you my friend.

HANNITY: Thanks for being with us. Godspeed.

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