Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Egypt: Guardian Piece a "Must-Read" on Hot-Air Balloon Crash, Killing 19

COMMENT: In today's issue (February 27) of the London-based GUARDIAN is a "must-read" piece entitled "Egyptian Hot-Air Balloon Flights Cancelled as Crash Investigation Begins." Thus, I strongly encourage our readers to review it below:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/27/egyptian-hot-air-balloon-company

As a matter of interest, I have traveled to and worked in Egypt extensive since 1973, and have seen it through good times and bad.

Yet, over the range of nearly 40 years, I must regretfully acknowledge at I have never seen Egypt in such political and economic chaos as I see it today, and particularly since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, which eventually brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power.

In the Egypt of today, foreign tourists have dramatically declined in huge numbers. Additionally, the country's cultivation of hard currency has equally diminished as it tries desperately to hang-on to the US$2 billion in foreign assistance that Washington has given to Cairo since 1979.

In case you're wondering, yes, that does amount to $68 billion that could have been put to much better use.

Although Washington has not "turned off the annual pipeline" of foreign assistance cash going to President Mohamed Morsi as yet, in December 2012, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) led Congress in adding language to an Egyptian spending bill that requests the US Secretary of State to "certify" that Egypt is supporting human rights and being a good neighbor.    

It should also be noted that according to a recent survey of Americans, 42% were in favor of cutting aid to Egypt and another 29% were in favor of cutting all of it.

Although I was hardly an apologist for former President Hosni Mubarak, it should be noted that Mubarak was, for roughly 30 years, an Egyptian president that kept Western interests safe, suppressed Muslim extremists and was very loyal to the West, including the US.

Unfortunately, for Mubarak, his loyalty resulted in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama "throwing him to the wolves" when Mubarak was deposed.