In an article for the American Prospect on June 6, 2007, Research Director Shadi Hamid discusses why Congress should use American foreign aid to Egypt as leverage for reform.

The time of year has again arrived when the U.S. Congress considers funding levels for foreign aid. But this year is different. Democrats control a majority in both the House and Senate and, for the first time in more than 12 years, will have the opportunity to set the agenda on this critical issue.

2007 has seen a continued deterioration in the political situation in the Middle East. Democrats have been preoccupied with a contentious debate on Iraq war funding, which has split the caucus in recent weeks. But beyond the war, 2007 has also been marked by the resurgence of Arab autocrats, who have strengthened their grip on power, and embarked on a sometimes brutal campaign against their opponents. There is no longer any “Arab spring” to speak of. Most troubling is the unfolding situation in Egypt, one of America’s closest allies in the region and the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid.

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