U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry carried his “cash for promises” plan to Egypt on Sunday, granting the stumbling Muslim Brotherhood regime $190 million immediately following Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s “promises” to carry out economic and political reforms.
The money is part of $450 million commitment by the Obama administration to help out the regime, whose economy is in shambles two years after the Arab Spring rebellion resulted in the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Kerry explained that Cairo needs the money now because of the country’s “extreme needs” and that Mori’s promises to enact reforms, which he promised to do when elected last year. Instead, he tried to usurp even more power for himself while the post-Mubarak economy disintegrated.
The new Secretary of State is outdoing his predecessors in his optimism. He said that the American government also is setting up a separate $60 million funds for direct support to Egyptian businessmen and young people.
Morsi’s promises will satisfy conditions for a $4.8 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund loans, according to Kerry. Two of those conditions are to raise taxes and reduced energy subsidies.
With parliamentary elections coming up in April, those moves would infuriate an already angry public.
The loans are considered to be a seal of approval that Egypt is on the way to recovery.
Kerry has called his 11-day junket to nine countries a “listening tour.” and said in Cairo, “I emphasize again, as strongly as I can, we’re not here to interfere, I’m here to listen.”
However, not everyone wants to talk to Kerry. Several opposition parties refused to meet with hymn because of the Obama administration’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Even before the regime took over, President Barack Obama broke precedent by sending American officials, including then-Senator Kerry, to meet with Muslim Brotherhood officials, who formerly had been blackballed.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr welcomed Kerry as “friend” and said Egypt has certain expectations from the United States, such as to make sure that to “rid the Middle East area from nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in genera.” That is diplomatic language for forcing Israel to own up to its nuclear capacity and to surrender them – at the same Iran is playing for time in its race for a nuclear weapon, which presumably would be aimed at Israel.