February 17th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

U.S. leverage over Egypt: Use it or lose it

Editor's Note: Gabriel Kohan is a former Israel Government Fellow and Mark Donig is a former Dean’s Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya’s Program for the Diplomatic Corps. The authors can be followed on Twitter at @TheMidEastBeast.

By Gabriel Kohan and Mark Donig - Special to CNN

In 1967, after the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Sinai Peninsula abandoned its position as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser postured toward armed conflict with Israel, then-Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., Abba Eban, compared UNEF to “an umbrella that is taken away as soon as it begins to rain.” The international community, rather than use its leverage, willingly cowed to Egypt, and war soon followed.

Today, Eban’s sentiments could be aptly applied to America’s reticence to use its own leverage over Egypt. Just over a year after President Mubarak’s ouster, U.S.-Egyptian relations are in crisis as 19 American NGO workers face trial in Egypt for their work to promote democracy. And yet, American aid still flows to Egypt unabated as Cairo continues to undermine U.S. interests. FULL POST

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Topics: Aid • Egypt