The United States has formally released USD 1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt amid fears that the assistance be used in crackdown on Egyptian pro-democracy protesters.
US State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced in a statement issued on Friday that the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had enabled ‘the continued flow of Foreign Military Financing to Egypt.’
The move, the statement noted, was indicative of “America’s over-arching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy.”
Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which replaced the regime of former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, on the back of a popular revolution last year, has been widely criticized for suppressing the pro-democracy rallies in the country since the last several months.
In December, troops in riot gear were filmed beating up protesters with thick sticks even after they had fallen to the ground motionless.
Photos and video footage posted online showed the forces mercilessly attacking a female protester, pulling up her manteau and dragging her half-naked through the street. One riot police member — strangely in sneakers instead of the uniform footwear — was seen kicking her savagely in the chest, according to presstv.ir.
In February, at least 10 people were killed and more than 70 others injured in clashes between security forces and Egyptian protesters.
The State Department statement, however, asserted “Egypt has made significant progress toward democracy in the last 15 months” and referred to the country as ‘a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability and peace.’