Live from Virginia Thursday morning on The John Fredericks Show – live weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Live Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream – host Fredericks welcomed Inside Arabia’s founder and editor and chief, Elisabeth Myers to the show to discuss her recent piece questioning why the United States continues to give Egypt one point three million dollars in military aid.
Fredericks: And joining us now is Elisabeth Myers. To tell you a little bit about her. She’s worn many hats over her career including a lawyer, a law professor, strategist, journalist, communications expert, and an arts advocate. She’s even a musician.
As a lawyer, she’s tried cases before the U.S. courts and tribunals for a quarter of a century. In April of 2018, She was named founding Editor in Chief of the online magazine Inside Arabia in Washington, D.C. I love Inside Arabia. This is a publication dedicated to deduce dispelling myths about Arabs and Muslims.
But the thing is it gives you the truth. It’s not a government-run organization not matching names. Okay doesn’t have any government money behind it. It’s just a site with advertisers trying to get the truth out. It’s my favorite kind. Always striving to teach, Elisabeth Myers has presented seminars and webinars, online courses on Facebook Live, and Instagram Live. And she served on numerous enterprises and boards of directors etc.
She’s also an adjunct law professor at her alma mater the Washington College of Law at American University. And she’s now based in Morocco. And I wanted to have her on because she had a great piece on why do we continue to send $1.3 billion annually to Egypt for military aid? I’ve been questioning this for a decade.
And as I said and the thing about it is with these with this foreign aid. It’s been one point three billion forever. This stuff never gets reviewed. Do we have an ROI on it? Why are we doing it? Don’t they have their own money? I mean what why are we still involved in this stuff?
Especially when the president says, you know, NATO has to pay their fair share. I mean, I’d love to ask the question what exactly are we getting out of this money that we keep sending them over and over. And joining us now to explain this to me and to you is Elisabeth Myers. Professor Myers great to have you.
Myers: Great to be on the show. Thank you very much, John.
Fredericks: I hope I set this up the right way was I reasonably accurate here?
Myers: Oh, yes, absolutely. And thanks for the plug on Inside Arabia. That was a labor of love and its founding in early 2018.
Fredericks: I am an Inside Arabia true believer. I go there’s the first thing I do when I get up because they get the overnight news but I get analysis and I get deep reporting that you just don’t find anywhere else. Coupled with the fact that there’s no political agenda. They are just trying to give you the analysis based on what they found.
You have some great writers. I’ve made some fabulous relationships. And James Dorsey and others come to mind many many many many others. But go to insidearabia.com. Okay, you have a piece up questioning why we keep giving Egypt $1.3 billion. Can you elaborate?
Myers: Yep, absolutely. Well, if you look at over the course of history, it’s actually amounted to over $84 billion in bilateral foreign aid. That’s not adjusted for inflation. Bilateral foreign aid including military and economic assistance.
And originally the purpose was as an adjunct to the peace accords at Camp David which involved of course peace between Israel and Egypt. In 1978 it seemed to make a lot of sense to be sending both military and economic aid to Egypt. This was something of a quid pro quo for the peace between its next-door neighbor and it. But now we’re as you say we’re up to a 1.3 billion per year and it’s been that for quite a long time as you say without review.
And what we’re getting for it right now though is Egypt’s situation has changed dramatically, especially since 2013 when there was a coup that overtook the only duly elected democratically elected president in its history of Mohamed Morsi when el-Sisi basically took over in a military coup. And since then there has been quite a crackdown on all kinds of liberties and freedoms that Egyptian citizens actually formally had in comparison to what they had now.
Fredericks: Do these ever get reviewed? I mean one of the things I’m a Trump supporter as you know. I’m chairman of the Trump campaign in Virginia just for a full disclaimer. One of the core tenets of Trump running was that all of this foreign aid was going to get reviewed and that he was going to hold these countries accountable and we were going to get our fair share from NATO.
So what is the review process to spend another $1.3 billion send it again to Egypt of our taxpayer money? Is there a review process in the state department? Does somebody question it? Does anybody ask the questions that you’ve asked and your and your article?
Myers: Well on the executive side, no. There’s been no review. It’s simply been repurposed in the budget again at the same level with no caveats. No conditions. Nothing related to the human rights abuses that have been going on. And my article documents and narrates a whole bunch of things. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Where there has been review however is not in the executive branch but in Congress. So on September 9, there was a hearing before this House Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs where there was a parade of witnesses that basically went through example after example of human rights abuses. Civil liberties abuses. Censorship. Torture.
Just all kinds of things in order to repress any kind of free expression in Egypt or without Egypt. And I say without Egypt meaning outside of Egypt because one of the measures that el-Sisi regime does is to detain the family’s family members of people who have spoken out.
And I’m talking about specifically American citizens who are originally Egyptians who still have family there like Mohamed Soltan. He was incarcerated for nearly two years in various Egyptian prisons and detailed in his testimony before the House subcommittee how he was transferred a number of different times.
And every time was met with a welcoming committee if you will of guards that would beat him and taunt him. Leave razor blades in his cell to try and get him to kill himself. After he was released and after going on a major hunger strike. And let me emphasize that he is an American citizen.
After he was released several of his cousins were arrested and also his father has been in detention actually for years now. After he was released the father was moved somewhere. He disappeared somewhere. And there’s been at least as of the time I wrote this article there has been no update as to his whereabouts.
So Mohamed Soltan does not know even where his father is. Why? Because he has a lawsuit under the Victim Protection Act which is a U.S. statute against Egyptian officials for the treatment that he received over those nearly two years in prison in Egypt.
And it’s retaliation, his uncle was told specifically tell Mohammad to drop the suit and will let his cousin’s go. This is according to his testimony before the House hearing on September 9 this year. So this is what we’re getting for these billions of dollars that we sent to Egypt right now.
Fredericks: So Elisabeth, this $1.3 billion in foreign aid, I checked this. Let me tell you how far back it’s gone Trump, Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton, George H. Bush, Reagan, Carter, and Ford. I mean, you got to go back to Richard Nixon to get to the bottom of this.
It’s just $1.3 billion dollars they get in military aid in perpetuity. Right now 2020 October 1, what is the benefit that the U.S. gets out of this 1.3 billion specifically earmarked for military aid. Now I get to the beginning of it I get when Carter did it. I get all that. But you know, but that’s 50 years ago. 2020. What do we get out of it now?
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