Journalism in the Public Interest

F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt:  Where Does the Money Go, And How Is It Spent?

With the Obama administration cutting off some U.S. aid to Egypt as the violence there continues, we’ve taken a step back to look at how much the U.S. gives Egypt and what those billions have bought.

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Thomas Solyan

Feb. 12, 2011, 8:08 p.m.

@ibsteve2: so according to you it is ok to have a world war when Europeans are threatend, but when it is SE Asia or elsewhere you just hide behind calling others names. I may have not been old enough to be in Vietnam but my USMC records are public record, and I was no General, nor do I sit in an armchair.

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 12, 2011, 8:18 p.m.

@ibsteve2: So, according to you it is OK to have a world war when Europeans are threatened, but when it is S.E. Asia or elsewhere you just want to hide behind calling others names and blaming it on greed. I may not be old enough to have been in Vietnam, but my Father and Stepfather were, and my USMC service is public record. I was no General, armchair or not. Keep on dreaming as it seems to serve you well, and you are all you seem to care about so you are safe..


Feb. 12, 2011, 11:33 p.m.

You mistake me, @Solyan.  I do not like war for it is not discrete; it does not harm just those whose lust for wealth or power too often makes it necessary.

But when it cannot be avoided, I do not hold with putting humanity’s worst into power simply because they - like a modern American Republican - can be depended upon staying bought for a time.

When you empower a Mubarak, a Karzai, a Chalabi, a Chiang Kai-Shek, or a Ngô Đình Diệm simply because they are “easy to do business with”, then you yourself are responsible for the oppression, the suffering, and the deaths that will inevitably follow. 

The right claims to “spread democracy”, but while I will grant you personally and individually the benefit of the doubt and accept the possibility that that is your only motivation, that is not the motivation of those who control the right…those who seek to use the emotions and misguided idealism of the Republican base solely to enable their own greed and lust for power.

You would do well to search the web for words like “Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker’s Cable Concerning Corruption in South Vietnam”.  If you follow through, you will find that Vietnam was never given the opportunity to have a clean and decent government…one that its own people found to be worth fighting for.  So they didn’t. 

Such is the fate of all nations whose governments are contaminated by greed and the elevations of the desires of the few over the needs of the many.  Such will be our fate, if Americans keep crumbling before the lies of the few…the right…the Republicans.

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 13, 2011, 7:20 a.m.

@ibsteve2: I must say you seem to be pretty quick to label, I have never voted for a Republican in my life and probably never would. How many Republicans do you know that listen to NPR 8 to 10 hrs a day and constantly glean thru sites like ProPublica for their news as I do not trust other sources.
I do not believe War is the answer to anything, but do believe that once committed, and, others are counting on us, you cant just walk away due to a change of party in the US.
From what I have read of your comments we seem to be on the same track? Did you read the very first comment on this particular article and notice the name next to it? It is my full name, as I have no need to hide my identity, I am an open book.  I despise the closed books and lies of the worlds governments, most especially ours, but at the same time am a realist and do my best to avoid the dream world most liberals live in.

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 13, 2011, 7:42 a.m.

@ibsteve2: I may be to young at 43 to know this, but wasn’t it the Democrats who prosecuted most of the War in Vietnam? Yes, Nixon was there for a bit, but Kennedy and Johnson were the the root and body of the war?

As well, I noticed that Guantanamo is still in operation while the War in Afghanistan has only gotten bigger and spread over the border to Pakistan under the current Democratic regime? What makes extra ordinary rendition less illegal with a Democrat in charge than with a Republican?

Did you see the Front-line show “Obama’s War”? I clearly remember seeing US Marines patrolling thru fields of Opium which they were told to leave alone??? I believe Mubarak, and Karzai need to go, but who will replace them? We will see some new face in the same old suit of lies and corruption, guaranteed…


Feb. 13, 2011, 9:24 a.m.

Go search for

Modern History Sourcebook:
President Eisenhower:
Letter to Ngo Dinh Diem, October 23, 1954

I’m afraid the Republicans laid the groundwork for Vietnam.  Kennedy also pulled something of a hypocritical move and looked both back at McCarthy and to his next term and concluded that he had to look strong on communism or the Republicans would be all over him for it.  Again, however, the driver was the Republicans’ need to have a world they could profit from although the hypocrisy was Kennedy’s.

Peter Beinart’s book The Icarus Syndrome<i> relates these words of Kennedy’s:

“If I tried to pull out completely now from Vietnam, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I’m reelected.”

You might search the web for that quote, again.  Kennedy intended to pull us out out of Vietnam once the ‘64 elections were over, but…

Regarding Afghanistan and Gitmo?  I’m afraid Obama, too, is…well, pulling a Kennedy.  But again, were it not for the certainty that the Republicans would attempt to make political hay out of his doing the right thing, then I highly doubt that he’d still be doing the wrong thing.

In fact, if it weren’t for the media sources who are the tools of the right coupled with the recent Citizen’s United ruling that enables America’s hardcore right to push any old lie…any old propaganda attack out there, he might still be doing the right thing.

I won’t go out of my way to defend Democrats; I’ve been an Independent my whole life.  But - perhaps because of my military experience - I believe you take out the greatest threat first, and then work your way down.  So I focus on our right, for they have had the American people in their gun sights since before FDR - and FDR’s policies <i>really aroused their antipathy.

lolll..this is no short term philosophical difference America is now facing, but rather is a war to ensure that America’s children have a decent future.


Feb. 13, 2011, 9:41 a.m.

I would add that the Tea Party seeks to be conspirators to murder, for they seek to cut government spending - to cut the social safety nets that protect those who do not have jobs - without first eliminating the greed of those the Republicans represent as a factor in government policy.

For it is the Republicans who represent those who are using inequitable free trade to enrich themselves through the destruction America’s industrial base and those millions of jobs as well as many, many service sector jobs.

To cut Americans off from all lifelines without ensuring that they can get jobs…without protecting those who cannot work…that is murder, plain and simple.

So don’t offer me the Tea Party as an alternative to Democrats and Republicans.

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 13, 2011, 9:52 a.m.

@ibsteve2u: There you go with the name calling again, who said anything about the Tea Party? Keep on dreaming buddy, and passing the blame to others…

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 13, 2011, 10:01 a.m.

@ibsteve2u: By the way, Johnson, a Democrat, was President from 1963 to 1969. If it was all the Republicans fault, how does that fit?


Feb. 13, 2011, 10:12 a.m.

@Solyan - lollll…you mean you haven’t noticed the proclivity of Texans to be ever eager to commit America’s youth to war whenever an opportunity arises?

Particularly when an ideological difference - such as communism vs. capitalism, or a more blatantly artificial quasi-ideological difference, such as Christianity vs. Islam, offers up a glorious excuse?

The machinery of war burns oil big-time…and anything that burns oil is good for Texas.

Johnson…Bush….Texans.  Ranchers…oil men…Texans first, political party second.


Feb. 13, 2011, 10:16 a.m.

Serious oil interests in California, too….Ronnie’s stomping grounds, all 20-mule teams aside.

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 13, 2011, 10:21 a.m.

OH, so it is not just Republicans and the Tea Party, but Texans and Californians too. I suppose you done use plastic, drive, or use any other petrochemicals. You must have ALL the answers and anyone who does not see it as you do must be your enemy as you stated,
“this is no short term philosophical difference America is now facing, but rather is a war”

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 13, 2011, 10:21 a.m.

OH, so it is not just Republicans and the Tea Party, but Texans and Californians too. I suppose you dont use plastic, drive, or use any other petrochemicals. You must have ALL the answers and anyone who does not see it as you do must be your enemy as you stated,
“this is no short term philosophical difference America is now facing, but rather is a war”


Feb. 13, 2011, 10:31 a.m.

@Solyan…I hope you’ll forgive me, but whenever I see “I suppose you dont use plastic, drive, or use any other petrochemicals.”, I suspect that the underlying motivation for a person’s position on world events - and events in the Middle East in particular - are oil-centric…

And all else is smoke and mirrors.

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 13, 2011, 10:34 a.m.

@ibsteve2u: you got me, I am a big oil baron and not a concerned US citizen who likes to question all…


April 2, 2011, 9:29 a.m.

i am egyptian an i aprove this thing


April 2, 2011, 11:35 a.m.

Can’t say as I blame you, “dude”.  When someone offers me wealth and either I need it or see a problem in America that the application of wealth can alleviate, I’m going to take it.

The question, however, is the cost-benefit analysis from the American people’s perspective…will the distribution of America’s wealth to Egypt benefit just the few (who don’t “need” but only “want” more wealth) in America who are doing business in or about Egypt, or will it benefit the majority in America?

All too typically that answer is the majority of the American people will be neglected - and even deprived - in order to increase or maintain the rate of wealth accumulation of a bare handful of Americans.

And that is a sign of democracy corrupted…a government which works only on behalf of the few is what Egypt is attempting to escape through ridding themselves of Mubarak.


May 16, 2011, 10:13 a.m.

I agree that it is extremely biased and prejudicial to assert that the state of Israel receives more US money than does any other country.

We should never, ever make such statements.

“Egypt gets the most U.S. foreign aid of any country except for Israel.”

What a horrifying thing to say! You must wish death to Israel to say something so egregious. The implication that Israel gets the largest amount of US foreign aid is so insulting!  I think you must be a Hamas operative!


May 16, 2011, 10:32 a.m.

Just my opinion, but I think sarcasm is most effective when applied with a small brush, Rachel.


July 10, 2011, 9:12 p.m.

Why does Egypt need the money. Is Egypt planning to invade Isreael that there old Soviet technology needs to be replaced with a 21st Century technology when more than half of the world still uses soviet era equipment


July 25, 2011, 4:56 p.m.

When is too much, too much? I think it is too much already! I also know that certain favors are to be paid for, but these donations (call it what you may) cannot all be favors. As for paying for preferred access to the Suez Canal…what are we even doing in that area if not to assist in some sort of strife between countries in that region…so why should we be paying for it?
We are in dire straits here in the USA and the plug is about to be pulled. Who is going to come to our aid? I bet not one of these countries that have been sitting with their hands out. We all see them on the evening news, or plastered on page one of our newspapers, coming to America each and every day for more money. It is time to stop!

A Tax payer ..

Sep. 7, 2011, 12:25 p.m.

Why is the U.S try to be the rich step father they still don’t like you even after all that hard earn tax payers money we need to stop just for 4year bring all that money and help out the schooling,are county first everybody else second kids having kids ..Thank you


Sep. 9, 2011, 9:06 p.m.

i think that this is all just crazy. why should we help them? would helping them make us liable to help other countries and stuff?


Oct. 22, 2011, 12:12 p.m.

1. The Money is needed here to get our U.S.Citizens Jobs in the Nation called the Good U.S.A. Too! There is 11,000,000 People Out of Jobs to true!! We Need to Cut the Bulk of U.S.Money off By 0.80% Cut off to Other Nations do Spited in our eye too! This is True! There are 4,000,000+ out of the 11,000,000 Group too! Skilled People Out of work to true in 50 States too! True!!  Solution is Lets Cut Out the Foreign Aid to other Nations now Agreed!!! Let"s Get ball Roling now soon as possable too! Agreed!!!! Tell our Congress Houes Elected Menbers First Cut off the Foreign Money from Counties Used Our Funds To Kill U.S. Solider Of The U.S. Military Bases in European Nations too! Then Tell th U.S Senate Menbers to Cut of Billions Of Foreign Aid off all Countries don"t Like AmericamPresents in Foreign Nations too! This is True!!!!  We Should Closed Some of our U.S.Military Bases over Seas immeadly now as soon as Posiable To Nations Kill Americans Citizens too!! I would Tell the Current President of the U.S.A. to Closeed So of the Military Bases over Seas in Foreign Nations too!! Agreed!!!!


Nov. 26, 2011, 11:31 a.m.

I want to say that not all Egypt in Tahrir square, and not all Egyptians refusing SCF and Army, we are over 80 Millions and in Tahrir just few thousands .
they just have AL Jazeera and USA , and they lie , AL Jazeera channel lies and not presenting professional TV, on Real-Land those who in Tahrir want to rule Egypt, in time they do not belong to our people, and they burn and destroy our country , they have no voices in elections, so they don’t want election to come, but most need peace and development , we need to elect our Parliament and our President , and Tahririans want to stop our progress .

David singleton

Jan. 1, 2012, 1:19 p.m.

We can’t fix the problem of other countrys.  The problems in our country have to be fixed before we push our ways on them. The aid we give Egypt is fine, but are we giving aid for them to be our allie. My belief if we pull all financial aid from Egypt were would we stand? I have lived in other countries were they dispise us. Help me understand the reasoning of foreign aid. Because I never see a return on our dollar.


Jan. 1, 2012, 1:47 p.m.

@David singleton:  Much of the aid we give is in weapons.  That employs Americans and makes the executives and the shareholders of the defense industry richer.

And it gives those of us who like to use external threats to gain political power and attack the rights of the American people an excuse when it inevitably goes horribly wrong:

Paul Felix Schott

Feb. 11, 2012, 3:34 p.m.



United We Stand
In GOD We Trust

The Lord’s Little Helper
Paul Felix Schott


Feb. 12, 2012, 9:58 a.m.

Do any of you remember our pumping a fortune into Afganistan in the 80’s for them to fight the Russians?Military help to countries who don’t believe in our way of life tend to bite us in the butt.


Sep. 13, 2012, 8:36 p.m.

2 billion a year would go a long way to supporting Medicaid which has been cut so short that it too my young disabled friend a year to find a doctor before that she had been seeing a nurse who did little for her


Oct. 9, 2012, 2:47 p.m.

We’re fighting wars we cannot win without any exit strategy
We are creating terrorists as we attempt to fight them with our drone planes - bombing unknown people in countries like Pakistan
We are bleeding money through our balance-of-trade deficit, always in the red, with no end in sight
Our trade deficit (difference between imports and exports) is now around $600 billion. This means we are sending $1.2 million out of the country every minute, on average
This money comes back not to buy our products (as we don’t make products they can’t make themselves) but to buy our companies
2012 national budget deficit is over $1 trillion
Accumulated national debt is over $16 trillion
Total consumer debt in the U.S. is $11 trillion
Student loan debt is over $867 billion
1 in every 5 homes loans is financially under water

We have no way to pay these debts!

Our priorities are all wrong. Our armies are all over the world - in Afghanistan, Korea, and Saudi Arabia, among other countries - yet our country is crumbling. Our infrastructure is in shambles, yet we spend our money building infrastructure in Afghanistan while our enemies are shooting at us.

We will never be able to pay back these debts as long as we continue to misuse our military and pursue outrageously misguided “free trade” policies which are proven to be disastrous failures.

Simply put, free trade allows unrestricted, uncontrolled access to our economy for goods made overseas at labor costs far below ours, sometimes as low as $2 per hour, tariff- and duty-free. We cannot compete with these labor costs, so we must outsource our manufacturing and watch our factories go bankrupt. This renders us uncompetitive and unproductive, sending the middle class jobs we once depended on overseas, devastating our economy.

We must demand better policies from our elected officials. Clearly the way we are living is unsustainable and it will only get worse if we do not rethink our failed trade policies, bring our troops home and start to become safe, sound and productive again.

Please contact Economy In Crisis

Ralph H

Oct. 9, 2012, 3:01 p.m.

It would be helpful to have more links to Congressional and GAO reports accounting for where the money is going. 

All Foreign Aid should be measured in terms of impact, otherwise what is the point?

Badiaa Samir

Oct. 10, 2012, 8:18 a.m.

The question is” What are the benefits that Egyptians are getting out of this USAID?”....The US administration is giving an aid not to the people or the welfare of the Egyptians becasue simply I can tell that the Egyptian and Arab hatred towards the USA is increasing because this money is just being added in the dictators pockets or for the sake of protecting Isreal but not for narrowing the gap between the East and the West….. This aid is being directed to the military which most of the Egyptians belive that they gave weapons that Isreal manfactures the advanced technique of destory it in case of any confrontaion…..None of the Egyptians is benefiting for this aid unless the oppurtunists who work in the NGOs and are hated by the people…..
No clear plan is being declared regarding this money and how to be spent…....The US is just serving their existence in the Middle East not the welfare of people or advocating them towards democracy….

Carmen Brown

Nov. 5, 2012, 7:10 a.m.

Foreign aid is a misnomer.


“concerns… about Egypt’s human rights record” means Egyptian officials kill and torture people with our taxdollars, but the media chooses to shade over torture and call it a “concern”. 

I have a concern. You got bit by a rattlesnake. I will monitor the situation and wait for the rattlesnake to tell me if you’re improving.

You’re a person. Would you like that kind of human rights record?

Easy answer for everyone but the rattlesnake.

Barbara Brooks

Dec. 9, 2012, 12:38 a.m.

According to the Egyptian government, 10% of their arable land is useless because it is full of WWII era landmines.  Thousands have been injured and continue to be injured by these mines.  Why isn’t our government insisting that the money be used to clear landmines instead of propping up the military.  Surely mine removal would help quell the anti-Americanism.
Here’s a link about the landmines:

Deb Johnston

Dec. 20, 2012, 12:52 p.m.

It’s amazing how we are brainwashed to get up in arms about our money going to Muslims when in reality most of our money have been going to Zionists.

cade newton

Feb. 26, 2013, 1:50 p.m.

i love mark west so much,,mmmmmmm yumm!!!!!!!!!!!!


March 1, 2013, 1:20 a.m.

informative article thank you.


March 4, 2013, 8:12 p.m.

Why is we the people , JUST A CATCH PHRSE. It’s like it doesn’t mean anything these days.
It’s like the government says thats the way it is and so what if you don’t like it.

Im mad as hell that they (the government) gives unneccesary money to forign countries,
who could give a s—t about us. when we go to war with these dead beat countries its all for bussiness
I think the Bush family was in with syria for democracy . think about it all that open terrain undeveloped it’s like the wild wild west just stake your claim, get a postal system set up so we can get all the people a credit card sell sell thats a breif thought of mine that they’re all up to
“There piece of the pie” and on our expence. we don’t get anything for our money.

Its like this we vote .  RIGHT?


March 7, 2013, 6:10 p.m.

Just a small example of what the government and politician s are doing to the people of the United States. Take from us and give to “them”. And for what? To gain a friend? What a joke!


March 14, 2013, 2:09 p.m.

Why not just send the money to American arms manufacturers and take Egypt out of the middle. Why do we focus so much human rights and trying to make them a democracy anyway. Why don’t we just expoect that they act like an ally in the region and mind our business otherwise.


March 17, 2013, 8:32 a.m.

Why can’t we take care of Americans first? I could sure use some of that money!

Glen Spry

July 9, 2013, 3:59 p.m.

What a meticulously precise effort to avoid explaining the first iota of detail about who is fighting who with whose money in Egypt. 

Why not do some real reporting and tell us who funded who in Libya? Why not tell us where those millions in cash payments to Iraqi “dissidents” went?

Or no. No, just wait till the body count exceeds 50, slap-dash some updates on some old, already agency approved boilerplate (complete with ersatz leak journalism of “what we already knew” to align ProLeftica with Wikilieaks) and forget about actually digging into U.S. spending overseas.

Jack Cloud

July 9, 2013, 4:04 p.m.

1) Will someone, please, tell me why we are giving welfare to Israel?

2) How many Israelis go without healthcare?

3) How many Israelis are homeless?

4) How many Israelis receive food support (stamps?)?

5) How many Israelis only have a high school education?

Albert Meyer

July 9, 2013, 4:28 p.m.

Richard Jan. 31, 2011, 6:22 p.m
“The alternative, a war between I and E would be far more costly to us.” Not so… it would be a six-day event. Not even a possibility. Only the defense contractors will support this notion of war to extract tax dollars from Washington… but more importantly:

“Furthermore, it looks like those tax dollars are largely being spent in the U.S. Sounds like a great stimulus program to me. Look at all the positives!”

I have never been able to fill my pool by taking water from the deep end and pouring it into the shallow end. You must have found the secret, i.e., take money from the general population and give it to the defense contractors via a corrupt government in Egypt and yippee, economic prosperity. Ridiculous.

Instead of such brazen confiscation and distribution of wealth, the general population could have spent their own hard-earned dollars on summer vacations on the east and west coasts sending a ripple of economic growth across the country, without the confiscatory impact of middlemen.

We innocently vote for our representatives, but they are owned by the defense contractors and other special interests with their snouts in the government trough, filled with our hard-earned wages for which they have nothing but contempt. We get the government we deserve, especially when there are people who cheer the confiscation of our wages for distribution to corrupt governments and defense contractors.

(Our government spends more on defense that the whole world combined. That should tell you something about defense contractors and their steely grip on Washington and our wallets.)

Robert Hall

July 9, 2013, 5:46 p.m.

Memory is a bit foggy, but I recall seeing that about 40% of Egypt’s total government budget goes for food subsidies, and despite all the building in Egypt in the past three decades, food shortages and prices are a key factor in the uprisings there and in other “Arab springs.”

Food and water—basic needs—are certainly a factor in popular revolts. If a government in Egypt, democratic or not, can’t deal with the basics, they are not going to be around long. Unfortunately, the political players and media reporters seem to be slow catching on to this. We got by for decades by supporting whatever government represented stability in a country, however obtained. However, the old imperial era is dying in turmoil we don’t understand.

We’ve tended to give a lot of foreign aid as military equipment, but if basics are not being met, conventional military approaches are not going to accomplish much. Egypt needs a government much more competent than their recent versions. Maybe the United State does too.

Alfredo A Atwater

July 9, 2013, 6:46 p.m.

Wow !

What a revealing article.

Thanks ProPublica.

One question ProPublica. Would you be interested in administering my Atwater School Of Buffettology ?


Dr. Atwater PEpeople C.E.O.


July 9, 2013, 7:08 p.m.

@Roy (first comment)

“Figures?????? We can spend this kind of money (billions a year) on a foreign country, but not take care of our own! “

Actually, Roy, THEY are taking care of THEIR OWN!

You see, the super-rich make sure the aid goes to foreign lands, some of which turns around and purchases THEIR products from THEIR corporations.

Just as President Eisenhower appointed Nelson Rockefeller to his administrion, and Rockefeller compromised and corrupted various foreign aid entities (Ex-Im Bank, US AID, etc.) to allow for the easy takeover of the Wall Streeters, sending aid offshore to build foreign factories and production facilities they could offshore American jobs to, and aid that would turn around and spend monies on their products, etc., it does work out, most of the time, exactly as they planned.


July 9, 2013, 7:29 p.m.

So the “foreign aid” figures given to Israel are actually quite a bit higher than reported aren’t they? If the U.S. is paying Egypt for the “peace” with Israel, it could reasonably be counted as Israel’s ! .... Dear Uncle Sam, You CAN’T buy love.


July 9, 2013, 8:37 p.m.

I think Joao said it all in January ‘011 after the first uprising:

“History repats itself and you poor idiots don’t learn a thing.  You always support any dictator just as long as they serve your interests, in spite of which you insist on “democracy” yet it’s clear that they continue as before.  It was like that in recent years in the cases of Irak, Portugal, Spain and Egypt and others.  Now, for example, Mubarak is gone but you refuse to accept any Moslem. “

The problem being, of course, that everybody, including the Americans, accepted a Moslem, member of the Brotherhood, and look what happened.  The real problem is, as always, testosterone and empire,  Egyptian brotherhood testosterone and American interference.  America needs to sell its arms and keep Isreal happy and for as long as that remains true, there will be no peace anywhere.

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