Kerry authorizes $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt despite concerns over democracy

( U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry authorized $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Egypt last month despite writing himself in a memo that the U.S. is “not satisfied with the extent of Egypt’s progress” on its democracy, Reuters reported Thursday.

Secretary of State John Kerry. Credit: State Department.

The Secretary of State, according to U.S. law, needs to confirm that Egypt “is supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion, and due process of law” prior to transferring the military aid.

But Kerry’s May 9 memo stated that waiving the restrictions on Foreign Military Financing (FMF) was necessary to ensure “a strong U.S. security partnership with Egypt” that “maintains a channel to Egyptian military leadership, who are key opinion makers in the country.”

“A decision to waive restrictions on FMF to Egypt is necessary to uphold these interests as we encourage Egypt to continue its transition to democracy,” Kerry wrote.

Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, told Reuters that the U.S. State Department’s issuing of the waiver without any public discussion “has at the very least missed a significant opportunity to... raise its concerns about the political trajectory in Egypt.”

Posted on June 7, 2013 .