23 JUNE 2021

AmCham Egypt Inc. in partnership with U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Egypt Business Council hosts: “U.S.-Egypt Business Council Webinar with Simone Ledeen”

The U.S.-Egypt Business Council, in partnership with AmCham Egypt, Inc., held a webinar with Simone Ledeen, Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East and Founder of Perimus Consulting, and Dr. Marwa Maziad, Non-resident Scholar, Defense and Security Program at the Middle East Institute and Faculty Fellow, History and Center for Israel Studies at American University, for a conversation on the evolving dynamics of the U.S.-Egypt Relationship. The meeting opened with welcome remarks by the U.S. Chamber's SVP for Middle East Affairs Khush Choksy and AmCham Egypt Inc.'s CEO Hisham Fahmy, followed by introductory remarks by Castlen Kennedy, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for Apache Corporation, which leads the USEBC as its Chair. 

During their remarks, Simone and Marwa discussed how over the past decade, the U.S.-Egypt defense and security relationship has seen some setbacks, for example when during the Obama Administration, the U.S. withheld military aid to Egypt following the June 30 events. This decision resulted in a reduction of U.S. arms sales, and the Government of Egypt seeking alternative partners to support their national defense capabilities.  

Despite more recent calls from Congressional members to curtail such funding, the Biden Administration's proposed budget continues the $1.3 billion in foreign military funding to Egypt, indicating the country continues to be viewed as an important ally in the region. Our speakers detailed how this dynamic has become particularly evident after the recent violence between Israel and Hamas, in response to which Egypt successfully mediated a ceasefire between the two parties. The events saw the first phone conversation between Presidents Biden and Sisi, as well as several recent high-level visits by U.S. officials to Egypt to discuss how cooperation on the Israel-Palestine file and other important regional issues.