MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: NO PEACE WITHOUT AID

by Patrick Goodenough

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood representative Essam el-Erian at a press conference in Cairo. Photograph: Abdel Hamid Eid/AP

(CNSNews.com) – A top Muslim Brotherhood official has warned that any cuts in U.S. aid to Egypt could affect Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel – the latest sign that Egypt’s emerging political forces intend to call Washington’s bluff over the diplomatic dispute triggered by a crackdown on non-governmental organizations.

Egyptian judges have referred 16 Americans and 27 others linked to NGOs for trial, accusing them of using foreign funds to encourage disruptive protests. Among the targeted NGOs whose assets and funds have been seized are the U.S. government-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute.

On Capitol Hill, the chorus of senior lawmakers calling for aid to Egypt to be suspended over the affair is growing, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that the funds could be in jeopardy.

So far, the defiant response from Cairo has been attributed mostly to government figures with links to the deposed Mubarak regime, including the anti-Western minister for international cooperation, Fayza Abul-Naga. The military-appointed Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri – who also served during the Mubarak era – told reporters last Wednesday that the authorities “won’t change course because of some aid.”

But now the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which won almost 50 percent of the seats in recent legislative elections and dominates parliamentary committees, is making its position clear, too.

Egyptians pass a police checkpoint near the Interior Ministry in Cairo on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Any U.S. aid cut to Egypt, top MB lawmaker Essam el-Erian told the pan-Arabic al-Hayat newspaper, would violate the U.S.-brokered 1979 peace agreement with Israel.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Erian as saying that if the U.S. cuts aid to Egypt, the MB would consider changing the terms of the peace treaty. He is warning that the U.S. should understand that “what was acceptable before the revolution is no longer.”

Interesting idea, eh?

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