Senator Rand Paul has introduced a resolution that would block the United States from selling weapons to Egypt, calling its leadership a “tyranny” that has “converted a country into a prison.”
“A State Department human rights report details how President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi converted a country into a prison,” Paul wrote in an op-ed for Responsible Statecraft. “Among other horrors, Egyptian security forces engage in extrajudicial killings, torture, as well as harsh crackdowns on anyone who wishes to practice the right to freedom of speech. As a result of Egypt’s abysmal human rights record, the Biden Administration recently blocked $130 million in annual security assistance.”
“Before applauding this supposed principled act in solidarity with the long-suffering Egyptian people, keep in mind that, in the same week, the State Department approved two military sales to the al-Sisi regime valued at $2.5 billion,” Paul added.
— Responsible Statecraft (@RStatecraft) February 10, 2022
Paul’s bill was introduced earlier this week and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If passed it would reject the billions in U.S. weapons sales to Egypt.
“The United States cannot proudly affirm human rights to be at the center of our foreign policy, while it arms a regime at war with its own people,” the senator wrote.
“That is why I will force the Senate to vote on a resolution that would cancel the latest military sale to Egypt’s criminal masters,” Paul said. “Mere slaps on the wrist cannot hide the inescapable fact that the United States has handsomely rewarded Egypt as it degenerated into one of the most autocratic places on the globe. America should in no uncertain terms demonstrate that we will no longer strengthen a strongman.”
The senator listed a number of the Egyptian government’s reported abuses, including its horrific treatment of a 14-year-old child.
Paul noted, “Human Rights Watch reports ‘Egypt’s security apparatus has arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted tens of thousands of persons,’ and that ‘torture crimes against detainees in Egypt are systematic, widespread and likely constitute crimes against humanity.’”
“One such victim of torture is known as Hamza, who was arrested at his home late one night for the crime of participating in a public demonstration,” Paul explained. “Despite tireless attempts to track him down, his family was unable to obtain any information about his location for over a month.”
The senator detailed how this young boy was tortured.
“Later, it was revealed that officers used electric shocks on his genitals, head, and tongue,” Paul wrote. “But even that was not enough for al-Sisi’s henchmen, who later suspended Hamza by his arms, which resulted in dislocating both of his shoulders. Hamza was eventually left on a corridor floor for three winter days without blankets. Such torture would be unbearable for any man.”
“But Hamza was not a man. He was a 14-year-old boy at the time of his arrest,” Paul revealed.
The libertarian-leaning senator has long been an advocate of reducing or eliminating foreign aid, often putting him on the opposite side of neoconservative-leaning Republicans in his party who are more inclined to send U.S. dollars abroad.
In 2013, Paul advocated for cutting U.S. aid to Egypt after a “military junta” replaced “democratic authoritarianism” in that country, when then Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a coup.
In Egypt, democratic authoritarianism is replaced with military junta. American neocons say send them more of your money.
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 8, 2013
Paul wondered why any of these groups deserve American dollars.
At the time, Paul lamented in an op-ed for the Washington Times that “American tax dollars flow no matter which despot rules” in Egypt.