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Advisors: Kurtzer, Daniel
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: ABSTRACT This thesis evaluates the strategic significance of the U.S. security assistance program to the Arab Republic of Egypt. Egypt receives $1.3 billion annually in U.S. military aid that allows it to purchase American equipment, services, and training. Continued human rights abuses committed by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi necessitate an evaluation of the military aid package to determine if its strategic significance justifies the continued support of a repressive regime. U.S. security assistance to Egypt is evaluated in this thesis based on three strategic objectives: (1) the strategic benefits of priority access to the Suez Canal and overflight rights; (2) the maintenance of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty; and (3) the counterterrorism efforts of the Egyptian military, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula. It finds that priority access to the Canal and Egyptian airspace, as well as Egyptian-Israeli relations under the Sisi government, largely do not rely on military aid. U.S. security assistance has had a mixed impact on counterterror efforts in the Sinai, however. The use of “prestige weapons” (i.e. F-16 fighter jets, tanks, etc.) has caused collateral damage to the civilian population of the Sinai that ultimately harms the military’s campaign. This thesis supports the reforms made by the Obama Administration to eliminate the wasteful spending of military aid that ultimately benefits only the Egyptian military economy. These reforms end the credit financing system known as cash flow financing in 2018 and require that military purchases fall under one of four categories approved by the United States. This thesis further recommends an evaluation of the military aid program by the Departments of State and Defense to determine the exact amount of aid necessary for Egypt to maintain its security. The difference between the $1.3 billion and that amount should then be converted to economic aid that directly benefits the Egyptian people. While leveraging security assistance on human rights reform and democratization may ultimately be ineffective, the United States should place a hold on military aid not vital to Egyptian security to demonstrate its disapproval of the abuses of the Sisi regime. The findings of this thesis have implications on the future of the global U.S. security assistance program and American strategy. The shortcomings of the Egyptian military aid package suggest that the security assistance program, in general, may not produce its intended effect. Thus, it is imperative for the State Department to develop an evaluation framework. However, despite the inadequacies of American investment in other countries’ security, the United States should not revert from a grand strategy of deep engagement to restraint. Rather, further involvement in regional and global security affairs should be based off of careful planning and an awareness of American interests and objectives.
Extent: 118 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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