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Bronwen Maddox: “Obama must end aid to Egypt”

Editor of Prospect and expert on global politics, Bronwen Maddox gave her opinion on the current situation in Egypt in yesterday’s The Times. The article titled ‘Obama must end aid to Egypt before more die’ is well worth reading.

Bronwen believes that the West’s “tangled and tentative” response to what she describes as “the worst crisis that Egypt has faced in the two years since revolution first gripped Tahrir Square” must be changed. News over the weekend that Egypt’s Internal Minister plans to recreate the securty and intelligence forces of Mubarak’s 30 year rule is, Browen claims, a formula for civil war.

She advocates an immediate response by foreign governments to be necessary: “they can’t afford to equivocate now”. The West’s “statements of tortuous caution” issued so far have not been sufficient, instead the US can use the power of its aid and Britain and the EU can offer economic help. Bronwen fears that otherwise reconciliation will become a fantasy.

Egypt’s complexity is a result of divisions between secular liberals (who support links with the West), other secularists (who support the military) and the more conservative/religious (who look to Islam for rules). Growing problems in the country include a rise in inflation and unemployment alongside a collapse in foreign investment and tourism.

The next steps are clear to Bronwen: “Mr Obama should now threaten to cut off aid.” Although it is tempting to suggest that the military can bring order to the country, Bronwen reminds of the example of Pakistan  in 1999 when General Musharraf overthrew the government which ultimately delayed the country’s return to democracy by two years.

Bronwen recognises that removing aid may not persuade those who have seized power in Egypt to surrender at the negotiating table but she concludes “as the death toll rapidly rises, it is a threat worth making.”

Click here to read the article in full

John Hulsman gives his expert opinion on the US and the Taliban..

John Hulsman, the leading expert on the politics of the EU, US and Middle East was one of three guests on DW broadcasters’ current affairs talk show ‘Agenda’ last month.

With the subtitle ‘Afghanistan and the Taliban – Is the US sending the wrong signals?’ John was invited to commentate on Washington’s plan to invite the Taliban to the negotiating table as the US prepares to withdraw their military from Afghanistan.

He begins by pointing out that the US’s focus now is on nation-building at home and that Obama is “winding down excesses” in order to leave the country. Talking to the enemy is a strategic move in order to get out of Afghanistan on the best terms possible.

When asked why, back in 2001, the US didn’t talk rather than going into war, John says that many, including himself warned it wouldn’t work. He reminds that since Alexander the Great people have invaded Afghanistan and that each time the country is unified but reverts back to a tribal structure when invaders leave.

The full episode is worth watching not only for John’s expert political opinion but also his input to discussion on the Brazil protests and German prostitution laws.

Click here to watch the episode online.

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