Egypt's Husni Mubarak is said to have been infuriated by the rider in last year's bill that tied $100 million of the $1.5 billion package to improved Egyptian cooperation at the Gaza border. That condition was waived by Condie Rice. There is little likelihood that a larger chunk will now be tied to improving the political climate in Egypt. However, it bears underlining that Mubarak and Co. are feeling very pleased with themselves these days in terms of their handling of the U.S. Except for the momentary Bush push for freer elections in Egypt--and the wretched Ayman Nour remains in jail for having the temerity to run against Mubarak in 2005--little more than pro forma criticisms have crossed the lips of U.S. officials. This measure being promoted by Saad Eddin may not be the right tool, but the U.S. has much more capacity to shape the debate in Egypt than its restrained rhetoric seems sometimes to presume. In particular, the continuing imposition of Emergency Laws, used to justify completely arbitrary arrests and jailings, should be a constant talking point by U.S. diplomats.
Dissident Lobbies for Conditions on U.S. Aid to Egypt