08/07/2012 04:38 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2012

U.S. Intervention Continues to Undermine Egyptian Revolution

By Suzanne Adely, Corinna Mullin and Azadeh Shahshahani

As world leaders met in New York last month to negotiate a first-ever international arms trade treaty, many human rights activists focused on the deteriorating situation in Syria and continued arms sales by Russia to the Assad regime as an example of why this treaty is so urgently needed. Considering the scale of human suffering, it is understandable that Syria took center stage in discussions around developing a regulatory framework with human rights conditions for world arms sales. However, we must not forget the numerous other repressive regimes in the region -- many of which have been challenged by the Arab "revolutions" -- whose durable rule has, in large part, depended upon their ability to purchase lethal weapons from states, mainly the United States and Western Europe -- and companies based in them -- willing to sell.

This April, we joined a National Lawyers Guild delegation of U.S. lawyers, activists and scholars to investigate another uncomfortable case of an authoritarian regime that benefited from Western weapons sales and aid, to the detriment of its people. Our delegation's aim was to examine the role and responsibility of the U.S. government and American corporations in human rights abuses in Egypt, as well as the ways in which over 30 years of U.S. military and economic intervention has violated Egypt's popular sovereignty and locked the country in a web of debt.

The delegation met with a broad range of activists, including human rights advocates, youth leaders, Islamists, leftist intellectuals and trade unionists. We also met with several civil society organizations that provide vital legal and social services to poor and working-class Egyptians who have been targeted by the state for their activism.

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This article originally appeared in Copyright, Reprinted with permission.