Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue109 2018

Last update19:14 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
Looking Forward: An Integrated Strategy for Supporting Democracy and Human Rights in Egypt
Looking Forward: An Integrated Strategy for Supporting Democracy and Human Rights in Egypt
Given longstanding American policy, the U.S. cannot be neutral on reform and human rights in Egypt. As a large stakeholder providing the Egyptian government with more than $1.5 billion in aid annually, the United States will, by default, be on the side of the authoritarian status quo if it does not demonstrate a commitment to the rights of the Egyptian people. On the other hand, the U.S. relationship with the Egyptian regime also serves American strategic interests, and any attempt to
Tuesday, May 19,2009 14:14
pomed.org

Looking Forward Cover

Project on Middle East Democracy, May 2009.

by Gregory L. Aftandilian

Full Text (pdf)

Summary:

As the Obama administration seeks to reorient its policy approach to the Middle East and improve relations with the region, the U.S.-Egypt relationship will inevitably be at the heart of that effort. This has already been demonstrated, as Hillary Clinton began her first visit to the Middle East as Secretary of State with a stop in Egypt. Meanwhile, President Mubarak will on May 26 make his first visit to the White House in more than five years. President Obama has also announced that he has chosen Egypt as the location for a major address to the Muslim world on June 4. U.S. interests in the Middle East are best served by a strong U.S. relationship with a strong Egypt.

Meanwhile, this is also a critical moment in Egypt. Recent years have seen increasing signs of public discontent with the status quo, accompanied by a series of regressive measures by the Egyptian regime. The aging President Mubarak, now 81 years old, is unlikely to serve beyond the end of his current term in 2011, raising the question of succession and increasing the importance of reform efforts that might breathe new life into Egypt’s political system. This moment of transition in Egypt, following the change in American administrations, can and should be viewed as a genuine opportunity for reform. It is also fraught with risk if reforms are further delayed.

Given longstanding American policy, the U.S. cannot be neutral on reform and human rights in Egypt. As a large stakeholder providing the Egyptian government with more than $1.5 billion in aid annually, the United States will, by default, be on the side of the authoritarian status quo if it does not demonstrate a commitment to the rights of the Egyptian people. On the other hand, the U.S. relationship with the Egyptian regime also serves American strategic interests, and any attempt to promote democracy that neglects the importance of the bilateral relationship is unlikely to succeed.

What is needed is a middle ground – a new strategy for American policy toward Egypt that neither neglects concerns for human rights and democracy nor pursues them in isolation from other policy priorities. By more thoroughly integrating U.S. support for gradual democratic reform into the broader bilateral policy, such efforts can be made more consistent over time and, ultimately, more effective.

To identify the elements of such a strategy, the Project on Middle East Democracy convened a series of roundtable discussions in Washington among leading American, Egyptian, and European policy experts, advocates, and analysts to explore ideas for a new policy approach to Egypt. The result, as outlined in this publication, is a new, integrated strategy for supporting Egyptian democracy through a variety of policy instruments.

Seven Core Policy Recommendations:

  • Change the Tone: Adopt a balanced public tone that is consistently supportive of the rights of all Egyptians.
  • Establish a Strategic Dialogue: Launch a regular forum for addressing sensitive reform issues behind closed doors.
  • Use Positive Conditionality to Encourage Reform: Offer a new, multilateral package of economic aid and trade benefits if reform benchmarks are met.
  • Bolster Effective Democracy Assistance Programs: Focus on civil society programs for a large, diverse sector of independent Egyptian actors.
  • Step Up Interagency Coordination: Strengthen mechanisms for policy coordination, consistent with a prioritization of reform in the bilateral relationship
  • Work with Europe: Seek opportunities for multilateral dialogue on reform goals and criteria, toward the goal of coordinating initiatives and incentives
  • Engage with Political Opposition Movements: Engage with a variety of opposition actors, including nonviolent Islamists.

Click here to view or download the full publication as a pdf.

About the Author:

Gregory L. Aftandilian is currently an independent consultant and writer, having spent over twenty years in government service, most recently as foreign policy adviser to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (2007-2008), professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, foreign policy adviser to Senator Paul Sarbanes (2000-2004), and foreign policy fellow to Senator Edward Kennedy (1999).  Prior to his positions on Capitol Hill, Mr. Aftandilian worked for thirteen years as a Middle East analyst at the U.S. Department of State, specializing on Egyptian affairs.  His other government experiences include analytical work for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Library of Congress.

Mr. Aftandilian was also a research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2006-2007) and an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (1991-1992) in New York, where he wrote the book, Egypt’s Bid for Arab Leadership. Implications for U.S. Policy.  In addition, Mr. Aftandilian was as a senior adviser on Middle East affairs for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and has taught courses at Boston University and Northeastern University.  He holds a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College, an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago, and an M.S. in International Relations from the London School of Economics

The Source


Posted in  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
Gates: Egyptian Military Aid Not Conditional on Democracy, Human Rights
Europe’s engagement with moderate Islamists
Conspiracy?
How To Engage Syria: Policy Options For The New Administration
The Dangers of the Iranian Blogosphere
Reevaluating Policy Towards Palestine
Don’t Abandon Afghan Democrats
This Week’s Events
Constructive Criticism for the Muslim World?
Islamist Parties and Democracy
Khalid Mishal on Hamas’ Growing Recognition
Will You Be Angry? In Egypt, April 6 Falls Short of Hopes, Expectations
New Report on Revitalizing U.S. Democracy Promotion
More on Egypt’s April 6 Protest
More Reactions to Obama’s Ankara Speech
Anniversary of the April 6 Protests
Talking with Hamas and the Taliban
In Turkey, Obama Addresses the Muslim World
Assessing Obama’s Policy Toward the Muslim World
Obama, Israel and Palestine
POMED: This Week’s Events
No Space for Criticism in Tunisia
POMED Notes: Engagement and the Syrian Opposition
How to Promote Democracy?
Foreign Policy Leaders Call for U.S. Shift on Hamas
To Engage or Disengage...That is the Question?
POMED: This Week’s Events
POMED Notes: Democracy and Conflict
Anxiety And Engagement
The Next King of Saudi Arabia?
Public Opinion in the Muslim World
Finding Equality and Justice Through Islam
Gamal Mubarak Visits DC
POMED Notes: Strategies for Engaging Political Islam: A Middle East, U.S., and E.U. Trialogue
Rebuilding Relations with the Muslim World
US-Egyptian Relations- Post Ayman Noor Release
Erdogan’s Calculations
Blogger Freedom in Egypt
Muslim Brotherhood Reform
Ayman Nour
Al Baradie’s Call to the Government to Engage MB
More Trouble in Cairo
Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?
Repairing American Public Diplomacy in the Middle East
Democracy in Egypt, One Text and Twitter at a Time
Democracy in Egypt
The US is colluding in the trampling of democracy in Egypt
The Muslim Brotherhood is Pro-Dialogue, Engagement of Women and Copts : Habib
Arrest of Muslim Brotherhood supporters illustrates limits to democracy in Egypt
Islamist Pragmatists Ripe for Engagement?
U.S. engages Muslim Brotherhood despite Rice
Engaged to Hamas
To Engage or Not to Engage?
Stomping on Democracy in Egypt
We Must Engage With Moderate Muslims
Political Islam: Ready for Engagement?
Engagement or Quarantine: How to Deal with the Islamist Advance
View from Dubai: Why the West must engage Islamists
Muslim Brotherhood And Democracy in Egypt