Corker on ABC’s “This Week” Calls for U.S. to Recalibrate Aid to Egypt, Focus on American National Interests in the Region
Sunday, August 18, 2013
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Today on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for the U.S. to “recalibrate” future foreign aid to Egypt, consistent with America’s national interests.
"We need to keep the lines of communication open,” said Corker. “I hope we will continue to have an aid relationship with Egypt…I think we need to tier [our aid]. There are certain things that obviously should not flow. There are certain things that are in our national interest that continue to need to flow.”
In particular, Corker pointed to the continued need for Egyptian cooperation to address the threat posed by extremists in the Sinai Peninsula and the importance to the American economy of maintaining our preferential access to the Suez Canal.
He further noted that while all of the American aid to Egypt has already been committed for this year, the Egyptian military’s “actions of the last week, no doubt, are going to cause us to suspend aid,” which should provide an opportunity for the U.S. “to recalibrate and look at what is our national interest.”
In addition, Corker argued that the United States has taken its eye off the ball in the region, noting that “we are not focusing on very important things.”
“[I]n Iraq, the country is devolving. We have a leader there, candidly, who’s done some of the same things the Muslim Brotherhood has done, and is concentrating power to himself, breaking down democracy. That’s creating sectarian violence. And then you look at the regional sectarian violence that's happening in Syria. We have all kind of proxies weighing in there. That is destabilizing the region. It’s happening in Lebanon and Jordan. Twenty-five percent of [Jordan’s] population is going to be Syrian refugees in the short [term]. So I do think that we have a lot of our national interests there that are not being focused on, [particularly] in Iraq where it’s as if we wished that problem to go away,” said Corker who returned Saturday from a week-long trip (August 10-17) to the Middle East where he visited with U.S. and foreign officials in Turkey, Iraq and Jordan.
The trip focused on regional political and security issues important to the U.S., including the violence in Egypt, the conflict in Syria and the threat of sectarian violence and terrorism in the region.