Could the U.S. Abandon Israel?

Published: February 1st 2011
in News » Israel

Anwar El Sadat, Jimmy Carter and Menachem Begin, 1978
Pic: WikiMedia Commons

The American interests in Egypt


In the 1960s and 1970s Egypt was a strong supporter of the former Soviet Union. The Soviets equipped Egypt with massive military and civil support. One of the most important Soviet "monuments" in Egypt is the Aswan High Dam which controls the flow of the Nile from Upper Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. The Soviets finished the construction in 1968 and invested billions in this huge project.


In the Yom-Kippur war (October 1973) Egypt was supported by the Soviet Union and Israel was supported by the United States. After the war ended, the Egyptian president, Muhammad Anwar El Sadat decided that his ties with the Soviets are no longer with the interests of his country. Two years after the war ended, he expelled the Soviet military councilors from Egypt and the Egypt-American golden era began.


U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who was elected in 1976, took advantage of the momentum in the Middle-East and was fully behind the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty that was signed in 1979.


From the American point of view this was a significant victory in the cold war. Instead of having two enemies fighting each other, they now have two nations who live in peace together. One is a democracy and the other is a stable autocracy with control over the Suez Canal which is vital for the US military and economic interests.


The Hosni Mubarak Era


Egyptian President Sadat was murdered in October 1981 by Muslim extremist from the Egyptian Muslim Brothers movement. His successor Hosni Mubarak (The blessed) has been ruling Egypt ever since. During his regime, the Egyptian population more than doubled with estimates of around 85 million Egyptians today.


President Mubarak has had strong ties with all American administrations until today. The US saw Egypt as a strategic ally that contributes to the American interests in the region and is integral in preventing extremist from taking over power, such as occurred in Iran in 1979.


Many say that the Islamic revolution in Iran happened because the Carter administration abandoned the Iranian Shah in the name of democracy and freedom of speech. Well, they do speak freely today about destroying Israel and America.


U.S. attitude towards Egypt


The U.S. military aid to Egypt is $1.5 billion annually. The Egyptian armed forces are equipped with the most modern western technologies. The Air-Force is equipped with F-16 jet fighters, the Army is equipped with the M1-A1 Abrams tanks, and the Navy is the biggest and most modern in the region.


The US was critical with Egypt and concerned about modernization, democracy, human rights and other values of freedom. However, as long as the Mubarak regime was stable and US interests were kept, the criticism was moderate and American officials choose their words carefully when publicly referencing the internal Egyptian problems.


Abandoning the President


Then the riots started and the voices from America were completely different. American officials spoke about the need for a change, the end of the Mubarak regime, the legitimacy of the protestors and actually turned its back on a person that supported it for the last thirty years. Sound familiar?


An Egyptian official said that during these hard times Egypt gets to see who her true friends are and who are not, a direct implication of the American government and its president, Barack Obama.


The Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez was less polite when speaking about the recent events. Chavez said that the American response to the Egyptian riots is hypocritical. "The U.S. is taking advantage of this president or another, and abandons him when he is in trouble. This is how the devil plays" said Chavez, who never misses a chance to take a jab at the U.S.


Israeli-Egyptian similarities


Related articles: (Egypt, Israel, US, Peace Treaty)

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