Who benefits from American “aid” to the Middle East?
Egypt’s ruler, Abdelfattah Al-Sisi (left) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. | MENA/AP

There is a lot more to American “aid” to Middle East countries, paid for by the taxpayers of the U.S., than at first meets the eye. Of course, this can be said of U.S. aid to a lot of places. Most recently we see convoys of trucks carrying “aid” to Venezuela being used, in effect, to crash that country’s borders and help overthrow its elected government.

In the Middle East, while such aid is not being used to overthrow governments, it is definitely not helping the working people, the poor and the needy in those countries. It is used instead to support dictatorships, human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and is used, in effect, to create the conditions for terrorism. It is quite false to claim that the “American aid” is being invested in democracy, economic stability, and the fight against terrorism.

On the latter point, President Trump’s love and support for corrupt criminal dictators in the region is creating breeding grounds for terrorism rather than defeating it. Defeat of terrorism is commonly given as a justification for U.S. “aid” to the Middle East. Perhaps the two best examples of the problem with the so-called aid from the U.S. can be found in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

After Israel, Egypt is the second largest beneficiary of American “aid,” receiving $1.5 billion in U.S. tax-payer money annually. Whatever that money is used for obviously does not include the fight against terrorism. Despite his allegedly strong army Egypt’s ruler, Abdelfattah Al-Sisi, has failed to stop an estimated 1,000 terrorists operating in the Sinai peninsula.

Instead, the American “aid” appears to be going into the ever-growing and fattening  personal bank accounts of the corrupted military leaders. Also, it helps support the dictatorship of Al-Sisi who became president after he led a military coup against the elected president Mohammed Morsi in 2013, and against the new-born democracy experience that the revolution of 2011 gave rise to.

Since the 2013 military coup, Egypt has been suffering the brutal force of the Al-Sisi regime.  Trump’s well-supported friend, General Al-Sisi, is known for the worst human rights abuses and his record, as chronicled by the United Nations and U.S. State Department, is absolutely disgraceful. The record is full of crimes against humanity unprecedented in Egyptian history, including the detention of political and human rights activists,  massacres in locations and towns including Rabaa and Nahda,  and torture including the use of electric shock and denial of needed medications. The activities include murder, fake trails, mass death sentences to entire communities, and public executions. The prisons are rife with abuse including rape which is suffered by both male and female political prisoners. Sisi regime crimes are documented by credible human rights organizations and media outlets such as Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Monitor, Amnesty, Middle East Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Washington Post, New York Times, and others.

These crimes are also known by the U.S. Congress and President Trump, who Bob Woodward, in his book “Fear,” reports Trump having referred to Sisi as the “F—king Killer.” It seems from Trump’s cozy relations with Sisi and from his continued financial “aid” to him that Trump approves of the killing.

Sisi is not the only murderous Mideast dictator receiving the backing of Trump and “aid” from the U.S. We must not forget the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, another dictator and killer on that receiving end of American largesse.

Trump told us this would all pay off because the modern reformer, as he described the prince, would pump billions into the U.S. economy. After that promise Americans didn’t see any of those billions. All they got from Trump since that promise was a government shutdown and smaller tax refunds. Nothing ever came from the dealing with Bin Salman unless you want to include generous loans showered on the president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Like his pal Sisi in Egypt, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a large-scale arrest campaign against human rights activists, journalists, lawyers, and moderate preachers. Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was murdered and his body was cut to pieces and buried under orders from the prince. Copying the repressive methods of Sisi, Bin Salman’s authorities detain and torture human rights and political activists, while their families are scared to speak, fearing retaliation by the Saudi authorities. Trump continues his “aid” to Bin Salman despite the murder of the journalist living in the U.S.

The common factor that joins Trump and his friends Sisi and Bin Salman is their support for the ugly system of capitalism, placing power and money above all and trashing ethics and decency in the process.

Right after Bin Salman was assigned the office instead of the legitimate crown prince Mohammed bin Naief, he led what was called an anti-coup campaign, in which he detained dozens of prominent Saudi figures including princes and wealthy businessmen at the Ritz Carlton of Riyadh. They were forced to give up billions of their own money in order to be released.

Trump tells the Saudis that he needs many of their ill-gotten billions of dollars to guarantee U.S.  protection for Saudi Arabia. Trump says he told King Salman that he will not be able to remain a king without that U.S. protection, and that he has to pay for it.

One hand washes the other with these international gangsters and criminals!

By his turn, Sisi received billions of dollars from his allies in Arab Gulf countries, including Bin Salman, in addition to the American “aid” he wallows in. They all take care of each other!

As Al Sisi rolls around in his piles of money the Egyptian economy grows worse by the day, with more and more people slipping into abject poverty.

So there you have it.  Trump’s foreign policy regarding the Middle East promotes “aid,” that is money over values and ethics. His policy backs criminal dictators. This policy, which includes the total ignoring of human rights violations, does nothing to “Make America Great Again.”

Instead, it turns the United States government into a mercenary operation. In the affected countries when the persecuted and oppressed lose their belief in a peaceful transition toward freedom and democracy, they can be led to adopt violence and terrorism. In the end that can only hurt the real interests of not just the people of the Middle East but of the American people too. Americans have nothing at all to gain from “aid” to people like Al Sisi and Bin Salman.


Aboulfotouh Kandil
Aboulfotouh Kandil

Aboulfotouh Kandil is a freelance writer on socio-political issues and human rights with a main focus on the Middle East.