Moral Outrage
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Why America’s love affair with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan

Much of the media coverage of the protests in Egypt has noted that President Obama is in a tough position because the regime of Hosni Mubarak is an important ally of the United States. So it’s natural to ask: How and why did the United States become allies with Egypt in the first place? And how has the alliance, which includes an annual military aid package worth $1.3 billion, been sustained over the years?

Joel Beinin, a Middle East history professor at Stanford who studies Egypt and who spent several years at the American University in Cairo in the 2000s shares the following:

It goes back to the aftermath of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war when, following the near-victory of Syria and Egypt, Henry Kissinger engaged in many rounds of shuttle diplomacy, which resulted in a separation of forces agreement between Israel and Egypt. Those were the first steps which led ultimately to the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty, which was signed in 1979.

Egypt was the first among the Arab states to join the United States in attacking Iraq in 1991. For that they received forgiveness of about 50 percent of their foreign debt.

Then Egypt has opposed the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, but nonetheless it did not break relations. It remained tight with the Bush administration. And most recently, Mubarak, along with King Abdullah II of Jordan and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, has been gung-ho for attacking Iran.

The two King Abdullahs and Mubarak — they are America’s most important allies in the eastern Arab world. That’s very important because that’s the defense of oil, it’s the defense against the vast popular anger in the Arab and Muslim world against the United States — for its positions vis-à-vis Palestine-Israel, for invading Iraq, having imposed sanctions on Iraq for the decade before, which led to the unnecessary deaths of untold Iraqi children.

[Salon]

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