As Barack Obama sets to woo the Middle East and to show a public support for democracy, he will announce that $1 billion of Egyptian debt will be forgotten as a token of support to the country.
As Egypt struggles to regain its footing after the recent uprising and displacement of President Mubarak, the US will also pledge to provide around $1 billion in aid, to go alongside the $2-3 billion that international fiscal organisations such as The World Bank will be providing.
The West is keen to be seen to be supporting countries such as Egypt and Tunisia where the people have chosen to pursue democracy and Obama, particularly, is known to want to boost his popularity within the Arab world, which has taken somewhat of a pounding in recent months.
The aid being provided to Egypt is not the only money being poured into the region, with Jordan already having been promised hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid earlier in the week. Sceptics of Obama’s plans have pointed to Jordan’s windfall as proof that the funding is not linked to supporting developing democracies, as Jordan has not been instrumental in this.
Obama has also frozen Syrian assets as a symbol of the US’ disapproval of the tactics being employed by the Syrian government, which include the use of violence as a means of control.
However, the generosity shown to the Middle East by the Obama administration has not received a universally warm welcome, with some parts feeling that with the debt problem in the US and the widening deficit, the Whitehouse should address domestic financial affairs before pledging more of the country’s money to help other areas, with cynics suggesting the oil-rich nature of the region may have more to do with the motivation.