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US aid to Egypt: What does it buy?

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AP/Emilio Morenatti

(Read caption) An Egyptian man rides his camel as he looks for tourists next to Giza Pyramids after re-opening for tourism, in Egypt on Feb.14, 2011. Egypt's ruling military council has issued a new communique calling on labor leaders to stop strikes and protests to allow a sense of normalcy to return to the country.

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The U.S. has given Egypt a lot of money over the years. How much? More than you probably think.

Since 1979, US assistance to Egypt has averaged about $2 billion a year, according to a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on US-Egyptian relations. That adds up to a whopping $64 billion.

In that period, Egypt has been the second-largest foreign recipient of US cash. (Israel is No. 1, in case you’re interested.) In part, that’s a legacy of the Camp David Accords. The United States promised generous aid packages to both Egypt and Israel in return for their making concessions to each other in a peace pact.

The accords’ architect, President Jimmy Carter, and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat got along like a house on fire, by the way. Maybe that had something to do with it – it’s always easier to write checks to people you like.

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