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US relations with Egypt: one problem at a time

American-Egyptian relations are structured in a piecemeal fashion, lacking strategic thinking and planning for long-term stability.
Egyptian army soldiers on a tank are positioned outside Cairo's Tora prison, where the trial of Al Jazeera journalists and other foreign media is due to take place, February 20, 2014. Egypt put three Al Jazeera journalists on trial on Thursday on charges of aiding Egyptians belonging to a "terrorist organisation", in a case criticised by human rights groups who say the authorities are stamping out freedom of expression. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) - RTX196JB

‎President Barack Obama’s recent decision to end the halt on sending military equipment to Egypt, resulting in the release of aircraft, missiles and tank kits, took many by surprise. The recent court decision in Egypt that led to a life sentence for Egyptian-American citizen Mohamad Soltan on charges of funding a pro-Mohammed Morsi sit-in and "spreading false information" — charges criticized by Amnesty International — reinforced doubt about the American-Egyptian funding relationship. But the military funding issue is somewhat more complicated than that — and may need to be investigated further, for both American and Egyptian interests, going forward.

On the one hand, Egypt has fallen, tremendously, in terms of being a priority for the Washington Beltway in general and the Obama administration in particular. Part of this is due to fatigue, after seeing what appeared to have been a majority of Egyptians turn against the Muslim Brotherhood when it was in power, and embrace the military-led ouster of a deeply flawed but democratically elected president.

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