From Forbes "Making sense of US Foreign Aid to Egypt & Elsewhere"
"With Egypt in turmoil, it’s widely being reported that the United States gives $1.5 billion in foreign aid to the government in Cairo each year. And with the U.S. at risk of running a $1.5 trillion deficit this year, that means it’s only a matter of time before budget hawks start picking apart U.S. foreign aid.
The $1.5 billion requested for Egypt in the president’s fiscal year 2011 budget puts the country fourth on the list of recipients for aid managed by the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. Only Afghanistan ($3.9 billion), Pakistan ($3.1 billion) and Israel ($3 billion) have more aid requested for them. Most of the money for these four countries is allocated for “peace and security,” a broad category that includes combating drug traffickers and terrorists as well as preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In Egypt specifically, $1.3 billion of the requested amount this year is for “peace and security.”
Egypt’s historic transition to democracy, launched in early 2011, will have a profound impact on the political future, not only of Egypt, but also the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at large. As of the beginning of 2012, Egypt continues to move towards a planned transfer of civilian power by July 1, 2012. Egypt successfully conducted its elections for the lower house of Parliament, the People’s Assembly, between November 2011 and January 2012. The new People’s Assembly started its work on January 23, and Egypt has concluded its Shura Council elections. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) has committed to holding presidential elections and completing the transfer of power to civilian rule by July 1. The FY 2013 request is premised on the assumption that the United States will be working with a new, democratic government that allows civil society organizations to operate more freely. The United States believes it is important to preserve our flexibility to assist Egypt with its transition, given the fluidity inherent in transitions.
Throughout this transition and beyond, Egypt will remain of critical importance to the United States and to U.S. policy in the region. Supporting a successful transition to democracy and economic stability in Egypt, one that protects the basic rights of its citizens and fulfills the aspirations of the Egyptian people, will continue to be a core objective of U.S. policy toward Egypt. Egypt is a key U.S. partner in ensuring regional stability and on a wide range of common security issues, including Middle East peace and countering terrorism.
A prosperous and democratic Egypt, buoyed by economic growth and a strong private sector, can be an anchor of stability for the MENA region. U.S. assistance to Egypt has long played a central role in Egypt’s economic and military development, and in furthering our strategic partnership. Now, with Egypt embarking on a transition to democracy, our support would help Egypt develop a new political system and achieve inclusive economic growth. U.S. assistance supports Egyptian efforts to protect civil liberties and human rights, introduce transparency and accountability in government, foster economic growth and democratic institutions, and develop a robust, independent civil society. (Source: Congressional Budget Justification FY 2013)