In times when the U.S. economy is still trying to recover, and has been facing federal budget cuts, the U.S. State Department has been sending money to the Middle East, totaling over two billion dollars in foreign aid in the last three months.
Egypt – $250 million
In early March, the New York Times reported that the Obama Administration authorized $190 million in foreign aid to Egypt, to help them support their country’s “budget,” at the same time the U.S was facing major budget cuts. Along with this aid, the Obama Administration approved another $60 million to support small businesses in Egypt, while American small businesses have been laying off employees, and even shutting down in the United States.
Palestine – $700 million
The only person making a small announcement about funds going to the Palestinians, was State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The amount of Palestinian foreign aid being sent was $500 million dollars, and on top of that, the Obama Administration wanted Congress to give Palestine another $200 million dollars. Congress tried to stop the aid, but according to Fox News,
Congress in 2011 voted to freeze part of the U.S. aid package to the Palestinians in response to their push for statehood before the U.N, but President Obama last year signed a waiver removing those restrictions on national security grounds. He reportedly moved to unfreeze hundreds of millions of dollars in aid last month.
March was also the crucial month when the federal government faced layoffs in many federal agencies and departments. The Obama Administration was pressuring the U.S. Congress to loosen up funds, to save programs like the “Meals on Wheels” program, that provides food delivery to the elderly or sick. MSNBC’s Chris Mathews reported as early as March 1, that cuts would be made to special education programs and the “Headstart” early childhood program as well. He referred to the cuts as “shameless acts of self-centeredness.”
Egypt – 12 F-16 fighter jets, 200 Abrams tanks
In April, Egypt was the recipient of four F-16 fighter jets from the U.S., and according to Fox News, this shipment brought the total to 12 F-16 fighter jets Egypt has received, along with 200 Abrams tanks. Not only were those military items given to Egypt, but they report that Egypt was also given:
“armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, and hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus military equipment.”
In this same month of April, Al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahri made an audio message urging those involved in the “Arab Spring Movement,” that has swept the Middle East, and changed leaders in more than one nation, to “unite” and institute an Islamic State or Caliphate. A Caliphate would create an Islamic state led by successors to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, whose supreme religious leaders would govern according to Sharia, or religious law.
Syria – $123 million,
The Huffington Post reported in April that:
“the Obama administration’s pledged to provide an additional $123 million in aid, which may include for the first time armored vehicles, body armor, night vision goggles and other defensive military supplies”
Syria – $485 million
The Obama administration has given $385 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, according to CNN. In May, the State Department approved providing an additional $100 million in foreign aid to the political opposition forces in Syria; but since the U.S. State Department is trying to keep these transaction away from the public eye, it is confusing to calculate the total amount of aid Syria has really received. According to the UK’s The Telegraph, the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel forces lay in the hands of the opposition force called A-Nusra Front, who’s leader Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, reaffirmed his loyalty to Al-Qaeda; yet this did not dissuade the U.S. State Department from giving Syria the $100 million plus in support of the rebel movement.