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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Monika Bove

Oct. 14, 2013, 8:18 p.m.

I find it interesting that now that Egypt is cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama is threatening to cut off aid.  Is he worried about his brethren?

Linda Allan

Oct. 11, 2013, 1:16 p.m.

So ,....if there is no contract between the US Government and the Egyptian government now, then the American Company contractors can pocket the money and not pay our American workers.  How great is that?


Oct. 11, 2013, 4:30 a.m.

cut off us aid we wont it anymore . usa supported mubarak against the egyptain people and did the same with morsi the terrorist president


Sep. 25, 2013, 9:08 p.m.

Actually the two leading US aid countries are Iraq and Afghanistan - getting about $150 billion/year each. Which is far more than all the aid to all the other countries in the world combined in total since 1776

james sandel

Aug. 22, 2013, 7:51 a.m.

Eisenhower had it mostly right, but our national jingoistic hubris blinds us to uncomfortably threatening truths.  It is no longer the “military-industrial complex”, but the military-industrial-media complex.  The USA could dump 90% of our (so-called”) defensive weaponry, and still have more firepower than the rest of the world combined.  So, who needs it anyway?  Easy answer: those who lust for money and power, our “captains of industry” and their political co-conspirators.  How did we get so paranoid and so convinced that our national welfare requires compromise with evil?  Well, the constant media bombardment that serves powerful interests is pretty much irresistible.  Just tell the same lie over and over again and John Q. Public will not only believe them, but will go to war to defend them

Thomas Jefferson had it right: a revolution every ten years.  Everything else is just every center of power defending its own self interest through lies, manipulations and when those don’t work, violence.  If they won’t agree, starve them or kill them…seems to summarize our domestic AND foreign policy.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “ENLIGHTENED” SELF INTEREST.

wallace white

Aug. 21, 2013, 5:21 p.m.

One thing that is not mentioned in this article is that the huge amount of military aid directly benefits the American war machine.  Military contractors all over the US benefit at the expense of the Egyptian people.  Just think what this amount of economic aid could do for their country.  Obama should just reverse the budgets in order to aid the people who seek democracy rather than the military rulers who subjugate the people.


Aug. 21, 2013, 4:11 p.m.

If you really want to see the US economy tank, so to speak, cut off foreign military aid. The weapons industry is a huge part of our economy and provides employment to a significant number of Americans. “Foreign aid” is really an account on which countries can draw-down military weapons. No money exchanges hands. It is actually a subsidy that our tax dollars provide to the military industrial complex. Review the voting record of those politicians with weapons manufacturers in their states. Follow the money.


Aug. 21, 2013, 3:17 p.m.

They can call it what they want, but it all amounts to bribes PAID FOR BY US TAXPAYERS so that BIG BUSINESS can continue to exploit people in other countries, and they are bringing that show home soon!


Aug. 20, 2013, 1:30 p.m.

@Donna colins:  You’re confusing the interests of Israel and the interests of Big Oil (specifically, their ability to levy private taxes as the middle men between Arab oil fields and America’s gasoline pumps and fuel oil furnaces) with the interests of the American people and the United States of America.

Donna colins

Aug. 20, 2013, 10:31 a.m.

I guess none of you read the article. The money is to pay Egypt not to attack Israel, to give us access to airspace over Egypt, and most importantly, to allow us to use the Suez Canal. I am assuming none of you use gasoline in your cars or energy from oil since you are so high and mighty. I guess you are using computers powered by handcrank and ride bikes to work, or have electric cars, considering how holier than thou you are. Otherwise you would never criticize our Government which assures our continuance in our cushy, safe, lifestyles. None of you live in airconditioned homes with fast internet, enjoy fine dining out, and the good life. Otherwise you would not be sitting there complaining. As a matter of fact, I bet you are planning to leave the usa because of its huge injustices and are going to give up your luxuries and devote your lives to helping others in some much more just country right away.


July 10, 2013, 3:04 a.m.

Where does the money go ? Simples . As with any government , into their Swiss bank accounts .


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.


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, 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.

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.

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.

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.)

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?

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.


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

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


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 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 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 1, 2013, 1:20 a.m.

informative article thank you.

cade newton

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

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

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.

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:

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.

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….

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?


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


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


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.

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


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:

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.


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 .


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!!!!


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?

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


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!


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


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

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


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!


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.


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

i am egyptian an i aprove this thing

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…


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, 10:21 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”

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”

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