Did Obama “secretly” cut aid to Egypt?

posted at 8:41 am on August 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

After weeks of enduring criticism over continued aid to Egypt, did Barack Obama have it frozen all along?  According to an exclusive from The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin, aid to Egypt stopped being transmitted shortly after the coup, but it’s not exactly overdue either:

The U.S. government has decided privately to act as if the military takeover of Egypt was a coup, temporarily suspending most forms of military aid, despite deciding not to announce publicly a coup determination one way or the other, according to a leading U.S. senator.

In the latest example of its poorly understood Egypt policy, the Obama administration has decided to temporarily suspend the disbursement of most direct military aid, the delivery of weapons to the Egyptian military, and some forms of economic aid to the Egyptian government while it conducts a broad review of the relationship. The administration won’t publicly acknowledge all aspects of the aid suspension and maintains its rhetorical line that no official coup determination has been made, but behind the scenes, extensive measures to treat the military takeover of Egypt last month as a coup are being implemented on a temporary basis.

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the head of the appropriations state and foreign-operations subcommittee, told The Daily Beast on Monday that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

Leahy’s “understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

Technically, though, it’s not cut off so much as it is not in transit.  The next installment of cash isn’t due until the end of September.  Until then, the $585 million will sit in American accounts, pending the administration’s determination.

So far, they have avoided making any determination, however.  The White House has decided to refrain from calling the July 3 takeover by the military a coup, but act as though it was by preventing (temporarily, at least) the transmission of aid.  The only analogy that comes to mind here is not eating your cake and then not having it, too.  It’s the refusal to publicly acknowledge the obvious about the coup that has damaged American credibility, and the only reason for that policy to exist is to continue aid to the military so that the treaty with Israel is safeguarded.  Only now we discover that we’re cutting off aid anyway … which means we get to alienate everyone.

This must be the smart power about which we hear so much.  The only good reason to talk about this is as a warning to Egypt’s new military government that the White House is serious about cutting off aidCalling a coup a coup works pretty well, too, and would certainly clarify matters, too.

Is Egypt’s interim government getting the message?  How is the coup that’s not a coup but we’re treating it like a coup because hopenchange going anyway? Military leader General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi insisted yesterday that the nation had enough room for the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists.  The army then hauled off Mohammed Badie, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood:

Security forces arrested the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday night, in an escalating showdown with the influential Islamist movement that has led to the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president and some of the bloodiest urban violence in its modern history.

Mohammed Badie, a white-bearded professor, was shown on state television being whisked away to prison in a car, sitting next to a security officer in a bulletproof vest. His arrest, as well as those of other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, had been ordered after last month’s coup.

Badie’s detention was the latest in a rapidly unfolding series of events that seemed certain to outrage beleaguered Brotherhood supporters and intensify the crisis in the Arab world’s most populous nation.

The timing is certainly … interesting:

Earlier Monday, an Egyptian court granted bond to the country’s former autocratic ruler, Hosni Mubarak, raising the prospect that he could be released from jail within days. Mubarak, 85, has been in poor health, and he still faces a host of legal problems, including a new trial related to the deaths of protesters in the 2011 revolt that ended his three-decade rule as president.

But his release would heighten suspicions that his former military-­backed regime has returned to power after the armed forces deposed Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president, on July 3.

Don’t expect Egyptians to draw any other conclusions from this juxtaposition, either.  On the other hand, as McClatchy reports, maybe they won’t mind after watching the Muslim Brotherhood in power.


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Oh. My.

herm2416 on August 20, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Does anyone know what the Administration has as a foreign policy in regard to ANYONE!?

hip shot on August 20, 2013 at 8:47 AM

He’s figuring out a way to send it to the Muslim Brotherhood.

EddieC on August 20, 2013 at 8:50 AM

In the latest example of its poorly understood Egypt policy, the Obama administration has decided to temporarily suspend the disbursement of most direct military aid, the delivery of weapons to the Egyptian military, and some forms of economic aid to the Egyptian government while it conducts a broad review of the relationship.

Poorly understood, by whom? Us proles, the administration itself, or the MB???

ted c on August 20, 2013 at 8:50 AM

I guess we’re finding out what happens when Wile E. Coyote and Ralph E. Wolf fight each other.

Steve Eggleston on August 20, 2013 at 8:51 AM

The only analogy that comes to mind here is not eating your cake and then not having it, too.

**cough cough**

Smart Powaahhhhh!

ted c on August 20, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Does anyone know what the Administration has as a foreign policy in regard to ANYONE!?

hip shot on August 20, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Sure!

Shy Guy on August 20, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Calling a coup a coup works pretty well, too, and would certainly clarify matters, too.

but that would prevent us from using our best weapon……nuance.
@WhiteHouse..

ted c on August 20, 2013 at 8:53 AM

He’ll suspend aid if it’s being used against his Muslim Brotherhood buddies.

TarheelBen on August 20, 2013 at 8:54 AM

incoherent at every step….

ted c on August 20, 2013 at 8:55 AM

His foreign policy equivalent of voting “present!”

Deano1952 on August 20, 2013 at 8:55 AM

This is the sort of thing that happens when someone meddles in friends’ bitter divorce: Both sides come to hate him in the end.

The only difference here is that Obama doesn’t know when to quit, and what to do next. He didn’t even know what he was doing when he first involved himself.

This Administration likes the term ‘smart power’? Hate to tell them, but truly smart people never underestimate the power of stupid.

Liam on August 20, 2013 at 8:56 AM

temporarily suspend the disbursement of most direct military aid,

This is a damage control story to make it look like Obama had stopped everything back when the Coup happened. Obama hasn’t really stopped anything. All he has done is “temporarily” not sending new Fighters to Egypt. Almost every other form of aid we give to Egypt is still flowing as usual.

Johnnyreb on August 20, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Does anyone know what the Administration has as a foreign policy in regard to ANYONE!?

[hip shot on August 20, 2013 at 8:47 AM]

Obama has one policy that applies to everyone. It’s called the Wing-It Doctrine.

Dusty on August 20, 2013 at 8:59 AM

The Egyptians are just now finding out what the Saudis and Jordan already know. If you are going to have a large Islamic population then the only government that works is a dictatorship. Islam and secular democracy can not mix. They are in total opposition to each other.

HotAirian on August 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Did Obama “secretly” cut aid to Egypt?

He’ll be able to answer that only after he reads it in the newspapers or something….

ted c on August 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Groping in the dark

sometimes you’ll find your way…..

ted c on August 20, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Does anyone else in the government have any idea what this guy does. He appears to be a freelance dictator.

rplat on August 20, 2013 at 9:07 AM

It’s the refusal to publicly acknowledge the obvious about the coup that has damaged American credibility, and the only reason for that policy to exist is to continue aid to the military so that the treaty with Israel is safeguarded. Only now we discover that we’re cutting off aid anyway … which means we get to alienate everyone.

OK, it’s intentional. Dear Liar is intentionally inflicting harm on America, and does not care, even at the cost of his own reputation.

rbj on August 20, 2013 at 9:07 AM

The Egyptians are just now finding out what the Saudis and Jordan already know. If you are going to have a large Islamic population then the only government that works is a dictatorship. Islam and secular democracy can not mix. They are in total opposition to each other.

HotAirian on August 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Mubarak knew this as well. But President “Smart Power” said “nope, you gotta go Hosni”.

WisRich on August 20, 2013 at 9:11 AM

He’s figuring out a way to send it to the Muslim Brotherhood.

EddieC on August 20, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Experience can go a long way Eddie…….

Obama’s Iran-Contra: The real Benghazi scandal

Rovin on August 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Groping in the dark

sometimes you’ll find your way…..

ted c on August 20, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Quit quoting Filner Ted.

Rovin on August 20, 2013 at 9:14 AM

So Kinetic Military Action Aid is no more?

hillsoftx on August 20, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I have a fantastic idea, folks!

Let’s elect a community organizer as President of the United States of America! Twice!

/Good Lord Almighty, save us from this disgrace.

Key West Reader on August 20, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Let’s also remember that the “Arab Spring” revolts didn’t come about due to a sudden desire for Democracy. It can be argued that it came about due U.S. monetary policy which flooded the world with liquidity and inflation thus made food and the cost of living expensive and made life very hard in these Arab countries.

WisRich on August 20, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Mohammed Badie, a white-bearded professor…

Enough of this trying to portray the MB as harmless legitimate political opposition. This guy is ours and every jews enemy. He weekly calls for muslims to go jihad on us and Israel.

We finally have someone who will stand up to the jihadis and a clear indication that there is a large secular movement in Egypt and we cut aid to them.

Blake on August 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

This must not have been covered in the Bill Dailey school of governing. Seems no one in the Chicago cabal knows what to do unless vote rigging is involved.

Kissmygrits on August 20, 2013 at 9:25 AM

When it comes to our “policy” in Egypt, would it be safe to say that the rat-eared wonder and his administrations are doing more tap dancing than the Nicholas Brothers?

Seriously this is no way to be running foreign policy. First we exert pressure to depose one dictator. We don’t like the dictator and radical Islamist group that takes over the power vacuum. So we support a third dictator who has no problem shooting citizens. And on top of it all- we do this fan dance with the $1B in aid we give annually so that we can expedite the election of the next dictator or something.

THIS IS INSANE!

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Leahy’s “understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

Technically, though, it’s not cut off so much as it is not in transit. The next installment of cash isn’t due until the end of September. Until then, the $585 million will sit in American accounts, pending the administration’s determination.

This is how the reigme of chicago thugs works. They blackmail everyone from Petraeus to Justice Roberts. It’s what they do and they do it well. Only problem is that the UAE has promised three billion and the Saudis five billion. So while 585 million is nothing to sneeze at it pales compared to 8 billion by countries that you can actually depend on.
Once again The military in Egpyt is destroying the MB. Does anyone here actually have a problem with that?

rodguy911 on August 20, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Let’s also remember that the “Arab Spring” revolts didn’t come about due to a sudden desire for Democracy.

WisRich on August 20, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Uh Uh. The thirst for Democracy among the ME nations was the hallmark of the rat-eared wonder’s smart power claims during the last campaign. It was hailed as part of the reason Hillary Clinton was the best Secretary of State (Secretary of States according to Obama) ever.

Are you suggesting that they were lying?

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM

He didn’t cut military aid…he delayed it…a common Obama tactic, be it Egypt or Obamacare…

Anyway, question of the morning, would progressives have stood by and either done nothing or vocally condemned say, for instance, a German military “coup” in 1934 to depose a “democratically elected” leader in Berlin? After all, in 1934 there were a lot of Americans, Brits, French and others who saw the recently elected leader of Germany as the one saving grace for Germany and Europe following the chaos of Weimar, and the global economic depression.

We had no idea that the German leader would soon embark on a road to destroy Germany and half of Europe, murder tens of millions, and drag the isolationist peaceful United States into the most costly war in its history.

So, back to the question of the morning…

Prop up Morsi and bring back the Moslem Brotherhood as the “legitimate” government of Egypt….or…support al-Sisi and the majority of Egyptians who would love to get rid of the Islamists and Morsi, and the Moslem Brotherhood, and get back to the business of being Egypt?

Food for thought…Egypt’s Military: Doing What Germany’s Should Have Done in 1933.

Back in 1933, it would have saved millions of lives…in 2013, such has the overall potential to save millions and millions more.

So, why are so many Progressives against Egypt these days and apparently so pro-Moslem Brotherhood? So many Republicans RINO’s? So many mainstream Americans? So many Americans on Main Street?

coldwarrior on August 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Never in my life have I ever witnessed such a disorganized and confusing foreign policy from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Should we suspend foreign aid to the Egyptian military? That is a question I am not prepared to answer because I have no expertise in the field of foreign policy. If I had to give an answer to my question, I would say no, at least not at this point in time. It appears as if the Egyptian military is doing what they can to protect the Coptic Christians, even vowing to rebuild some of the destroyed churches. And they may have done the right thing in overthrowing Morsi and the installment of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Jihad Watch, the Brotherhood is a very ruthless group, intent on eventually installing a government that strictly follows the teachings of Islam and the Quran. Egypt could become a breeding ground for both Islamic extremists and eventual terrorists that would move on both Israel and the United States. I simply don’t know enough about such a complicated subject to make an educated answer.

It does appear as if Obama might have cut off the foreign aid to the military for deposing Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood goons. When Obama is publicly denouncing the killings in the streets, I believe he is supporting the rioters and the return of Morsi and the Brotherhood. Who knows for sure what is going on in the mind of that fanatical POTUS?

Then you have the shifting winds of the RHINO’s…McCain and Graham. Now these bumbling idiots are calling for an end to the foreign aid. Does that mean they want the military to crumble without the U.S. dollars needed for their existence? Who knows for sure what is going on in the minds of those fanatical RHINO’s? I believe Rand Paul is simply against the aid in principle. We probably need to begin a withdrawal of all U.S. interests in that region. I think that is what Paul is thinking.

If the U.S. government would get out of the way, the U.S. could become the leading source of it’s own energy needs for decades to come. The Saudi’s know this and are beginning to look for other means of income without depending on selling oil to the western nations. So we probably should get the hell out of that part of the world and let those countries settle their own differences.

metroryder on August 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

So, back to the question of the morning…

Prop up Morsi and bring back the Moslem Brotherhood as the “legitimate” government of Egypt….or…support al-Sisi and the majority of Egyptians who would love to get rid of the Islamists and Morsi, and the Moslem Brotherhood, and get back to the business of being Egypt?

coldwarrior on August 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Let’s not forget the persecution of Christians and the destruction of 47 Coptic churches. This aspect of the riots is completely and totally being ignored by the MSM and, frankly, the rat-eared wonder who talks of human rights but says nothing about religious freedom. Resumption of aid needs to be tied to assurances that such persecution will not be tolerated.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2013 at 9:45 AM

The Copts and other Christians in Egypt have experienced their very own Kristallnacht…and Washington dithers, ignores, obfuscates…and the resemblance to the 1930′s deepens.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM


Just give the military aid and let them finish off the Muslim Brotherhood who are are clear enemy

HAGGS99 on August 20, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Never in my life have I ever witnessed such a disorganized and confusing foreign policy from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Your giving more credit than I’m willing to give. To state that foreign policy is “disorganized and confusing” assumes there is a policy in the first place.

There isn’t. All he is doing is bouncing around like a pinball to events in the ME.

There is no policy. There is no strategy. There is only Obama

WisRich on August 20, 2013 at 9:53 AM

The Copts and other Christians in Egypt have experienced their very own Kristallnacht…and Washington dithers, ignores, obfuscates…and the resemblance to the 1930′s deepens.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM

No kidding. The one public statement made by the rat-eared coward was a lecture about human rights in such general terms that it is clear that Obama really doesn’t condemn the Muslim Brotherhood and their persecution of Christians. But let’s be clear about one thing. Obama does not dither, ignore, obfuscate when it comes to the attacks on Christians in Egypt. He just doesn’t care.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM

The Russians and the Chinese welcome the ME leadership void.

obama is a turd to the free world.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2013 at 11:20 AM

obama is a turd to the world, much better.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2013 at 11:20 AM

If I were al Sissi, I’d tell Obama to take his money and shove it.

Why are we in such a tizzy about Morsi, who was acting like Hitler?? Elected legally, then ruling illegally.

PattyJ on August 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM

So, why are so many Progressives against Egypt these days and apparently so pro-Moslem Brotherhood? So many Republicans RINO’s? So many mainstream Americans? So many Americans on Main Street?

coldwarrior on August 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

This is due to the typical fuzzy-headed mishmash of liberal-progressive-hippy-feelgood-60′s-freelove-theory, completely absent any empirical evidence, and rendered down to two unquestioned assumptions:

Democracy = good

Military = bad

Therefore we must oppose the current government and go back to the “democratically elected” Morsi government.

ZenDraken on August 20, 2013 at 11:36 AM

coldwarrior on August 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Level headed comment as usual CW. One thing you can say about our policy is that El Sissi is probably increasing his stature with the Egyptian public by the appearance if not fact of opposition to him in Washington.

KW64 on August 20, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Recently, I learned of the Left Wing Gang. They were active throughout the 80s in Denmark and Sweden robbing banks and payrolls and sending the money to terrorist groups in the Mideast.

The left hates jews and will always support islamofascists.

Blake on August 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM

The liars in DC lie, again.

China and Russia will fill the leadership vacuum in the ME and obama, the oaf, will let them. His MB is way more important to him.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

We finally have someone who will stand up to the jihadis and a clear indication that there is a large secular movement in Egypt and we cut aid to them.

Blake on August 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Just because the Egyptian military is currently going after the “jihadis” or Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in favor of “a large secular movement” or will defend the Coptic Christians.

The MB is fairly popular in Egypt (even if it may not be a majority), and its members could infiltrate the Egyptian army and turn its weapons against “secular movements” or Christians. Do we want to risk having our weapons turned against any friends we might have in Egypt?

I am no expert on Egyptian politics or sociology, but IMHO a real “smart power” would rely on our one true ally in the region (Israel) to sort everything out and find out who is fighting against whom for what reason in Egypt. Israel has probably the best intelligence-gathering service in the world, and the Israelis know who their friends and enemies are in neighboring countries.

A truly smart President or Secretary of State would travel to Israel and meet with Bibi in private (without media coverage), then tell the Administration to support whomever Bibi supports (or no one, if that is Bibi’s advice).

Steve Z on August 20, 2013 at 1:55 PM