U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House in Washington - REUTERS
CAIRO – 31 August 2017: Egypt was not the only Arab state that has witnessed a reduction of United States foreign aid, as it applied to other countries as well, with President Donald Trump’s intentionst to make serious changes in the 2018 aid budget.
In April, the new US administration reportedly planned reducing the aid budget by 28 percent in the next fiscal year, but increasing funds for military assistance, especially for Syria, Iraq and Libya. The plan further included maintaining the actual budget r only for Israel.
There are twenty five countries that receive the total of U.S. foreign financial assistance. Among the countries that will face serious military aid cuts are Yemen with 98%, Bahrain 88%, Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon with 82%, Syria with 48% Oman with 35%. This intended reduction came within the context of threats of terrorism and security issues in the majority of these countries.
Egypt and Israel are the only countries that were not included in the US foreign military aid plan for 2018, but the US will reduce 485 of economic aid for Egypt and maintain all Israeli actual allocations. Moreover, countries that faced neutral reductions are Libya with 6%, Jordan 21%, and the West Bank and Gaza with 36%.
In 2014, Egypt and Israel were at the top of countries receiving high allocation of foreign military aid, as Egypt received $1.3 billion and Israel $3.1 billion. In the same year, Iraq received $300 million, Jordan $300 million and Pakistan $280 million.
Regarding economic aid, there are some countries that will get their aid reduced and other increased. Economic aid for Iraq will increase 144%, and 130% for Libya. The West Bank and Gaza will be granted only a 4% increment.
Last week, the U.S. decided to reduce $ 290 million of aid allocated to Egypt, justifying the decision by stating that Egypt has failed to progress in the field of human rights, referring to the recently approved non-governmental organizations (NGO) law which restricts civil society, Reuters reported.
This is not the first time the U.S. takes any decision regarding the aid due to internal affairs, as in 2013, the former U.S. President Barak Obama suspended military and economic assistance to the Egyptian government in rejection to the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, and later reissued it in 2015.