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Published: Friday, 5/2/2014


Arming Egypt

U.S. policy in Egypt is on a wrong track. Two new events may suggest a more realistic, principled approach.

In 2011, Egypt ousted Hosni Mubarak, the latest in a long line of military presidents. Voters replaced him with Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, overthrew Mr. Morsi last July. Mr. el-Sisi has retired from the army and is running for president.

The United States pretends that Egypt’s armed forces did not stage a coup d’etat, since that would require a cutoff of $2 billion in annual aid. The Obama Administration plans to sell attack helicopters to the Egyptian military, in addition to the arms it has continued to sell despite the coup.

Egyptian courts have outraged the world by sentencing hundreds of opposition members to death. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) was so angered by the death sentences that he vowed to block further military aid to Egypt until it restores justice and due process.

Such reforms should include Mr. el-Sisi’s withdrawal from the presidential race, Mr. Morsi’s release from prison, and hearings for those who were sentenced to death. An undemocratic military government is not likely to last, nor is it good for Egypt or the United States.

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