by Hadi Fornaji
Tripoli, 22 September
A proposal to cut America’s financial aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan has today been rejected in . . .[restrict]the US Senate overwhelmingly by a vote of 81 to 10.
Democrats said that countries in the process of political change needed US help more than ever. Republican Senator John McCain reportedly argued that nothing would make Islamists and al-Qaida happier “than to hear that the United Sates had cut off all assistance to Libya.”
This is a smack in the face for Senator Rand Paul, who recently extended the scope of a legislative proposal to cut aid to Pakistan to include Libya and Egypt. Following the attacks on American diplomatic buildings and personnel across the Middle East, Paul amended his original proposal. He said that aid should be cut “in light of recent aggression toward American consulates and embassies in these countries, including the tragic death of the American ambassador to Libya,”
In June this year Paul had proposed new legislation addressing Pakistan’s imprisonment of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who tipped off the US on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Afridi is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence in Pakistan for treason. Paul proposed a bill which would strip Pakistan of all US foreign aid until Afridi was released. On 19 September he extended his plan to include Libya and Egypt. He used a proceduraly-rare “cloture petition” to push the Senate into voting on his proposal.
Under Paul’s plan, US aid to Libya would have been halted indefinitely unless the perpetrators of the recent attacks on the consulate were arrested and extradited to stand trial in the US.
Rand had suggested that 80 percent of American people thought that foreign aid was a bad idea, anyway. He proposed that the $4 billion per year that the US currently gives in aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan. should instead be spent on infrastructure and jobs for veterans in America. [/restrict]