How Much Did Cairo’s Protests Cost?

Not much, it seems.

For a while we thought that the demonstrations sparked by an anti-Islam video had cost Egypt about $1 billion in debt relief and millions in other aid pledged to the nation when US officials said talks on aid had been halted.

The papers came out in force decrying Egypt’s initial clumsy response and the bigger economic and political ramifications.

President Barack Obama had added more confusion to the politics by saying that Egypt is no ally, but also no enemy.

But a lot happens in 24 hours.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney moved to deny the media reports on Tuesday, saying: “We provide assistance to Egypt because it’s in our interests to help them advance regional security and uphold their treaty with Israel and transition to democracy.”

In fact, all the drama was about nothing.  Instead, new money will continue to be available for Egypt under the terms of a six-month government funding bill that passed the House last week, the AP report linked above says.

The measure allows for almost $130 million a month in military and economic aid to Egypt since it permits aid to flow at the same rate as current funding.

It is an important reminder that even highly controversial developments in the political sphere cannot rock US-Egypt ties. 

Just as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton waived restrictions on aid to Egypt in March, to the surprise of others in Congress, so will Egypt continue to ply the US for help even as Egyptian officials within the country attempt to distance themselves from foreign funding. 

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