In a November 15, 2021 newsletter from the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, “US and Egypt: Between Regional Cooperation and Human Rights,” Deputy Director for Research Amy Hawthorne comments on multiple concerning developments between Egypt and the United States.

“The Biden administration purports to “centre” human rights, but with Egypt’s dictatorship, it has sidelined them in order to bolster ties. Rewarding Egypt with a high-level “Strategic Dialogue” is the latest example of Biden’s approach.

The US says it raised human rights at the bilateral confab, but the communique mentions them only in passing, completely blandly, to avoid antagonizing Egypt. The communique’s main thrust is U.S. praise for Egypt and announcements of economic support and a USD $1 billion sale of Apache helicopters – the very equipment used by Egypt’s military in the 2015 incident in the Western Desert that killed and wounded innocent civilians, including an American.

Biden’s team implies that drawing closer to the regime will create ‘leverage’ that the US can use to pry loose very minor human rights concessions. Past US administrations tried this strategy —without success. Dictators respond to toughness, and being tougher with Egypt’s would be more effective. Fears this would jeopardize core national security interests are overblown.”

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Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State