Obama Increasing Aid to Jordan, Other Muslim States
In the latest in a recent series of increased American assistance efforts for Arab and Muslim states, U.S. President Barack Obama has allocated an additional $150 million to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The regimes leading Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and even Saudi Arabia have all benefited from recent American policy shifts.
Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Suhair Al-Ali, was quoted by The Jordan Times as explaining that the kingdom receives $363 million annually from the United States in economic assistance. The allocations signed into law by Obama this week mean that Jordan will receive a total of $513 million from the U.S. in 2009. The minister told the Jordanian newspaper that the additional American aid was the result of ongoing efforts by Jordan's King Abdullah II, as well as Obama's "recognition of the important role Jordan plays in the region."
Egypt received $310 million in supplemental appropriations from the U.S. House of Representatives, currently controlled by Obama's Democratic party. At the same time, 2009 State Department funding for the promotion of democratic initiatives in Egypt was cut from $50 million to $20 million. In addition, the U.S. has agreed not to give any of the pro-democracy funds to organizations that are not approved by the Mubarak regime. In the year 2007, Egypt received a total of $2.4 billion.
On another front, in March of this year, it was reported that the Obama administration planned to dramatically increase funding to the Palestinian Authority for security training, which is conducted by Jordanian police under the supervision of U.S. General Keith Dayton. The U.S. allocated $75 million for the PA police training in 2008, but reports indicated that the Obama administration was planning to pump up to $130 million into the program in 2009. In any event, the U.S. has already pledged $600 million in funds to the Palestinian Authority, with another $300 million for humanitarian aid to the Hamas regime in Gaza.
Elsewhere in the region, the U.S. is set to help the United Arab Emirates become the first Arab nation with a developed nuclear power infrastructure. President Obama gave his official support and authorization for the $41 billion project, allowing private U.S. companies to compete for construction contracts.
In Pakistan, the U.S. president proposed $2.8 billion in aid for that nation's military, alongside civilian aid of $1.5 billion a year for the next five years. The military aid is ostensibly to allow the Pakistanis to more effectively fight jihadist and al-Qaeda terrorism emanating from the Swat Valley and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The Obama administration's assistance to Arab and Muslim states extends beyond the monetary, however.
According to an article in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin earlier this month, the American government has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve sovereign immunity for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and four Saudi princes in connection with a civil case seeking compensation for victims of the massive September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the American homeland. The claimants in the case say that there is sufficient evidence of Saudi involvement in 9/11 for the court to lift the normally applicable immunity.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, told Newsweek magazine this month that the United States should cut off all aid to Israel if the Jewish State does not accept the 2002 Saudi-sponsored Arab-Israeli terms of negotiation.