Saturday, February 4, 2012
US Lawmakers say “days of blank checks” are over for Egypt’s military junta.(Yahoo).WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading senator warned Egypt's military-led government on Friday that "the days of blank checks are over" as an Egyptian army team huddled with State Department officials to discuss the future of $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid.Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who chairs the Senate subcommittee in charge of foreign aid, issued a blistering attack on Egypt's crackdown on local and U.S.-funded pro-democracy groups and warned that Congress could block future aid unless changes are made."We want to send a clear message to the Egyptian military that the days of blank checks are over. We value the relationship and will provide substantial amounts of aid, but not unconditionally," Leahy said in his statement.Leahy joined a growing number of U.S. lawmakers from both political parties who have expressed outrage over the swoop on non-governmental organizations, which has seen a number of U.S. staffers barred from leaving Egypt.In two joint letters released on Friday, more than 40 U.S lawmakers warned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt's ruling military council, that U.S. aid to the Egyptian military hung in the balance."The absence of a quick and satisfactory resolution to this issue will make it increasingly difficult for congressional supporters of a strong U.S.-Egypt bilateral relationship to defend current levels of assistance to Egypt," the letters said.Hmmmm......FlashBack:"MFS - The Other News" May 2011 "Muslim Brotherhood to Obama : "Go to Hell".Egyptian Government Rejects US Conditional Aid".Read the full story here.