US to cut aid to Egypt?

posted at 10:41 am on October 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Well, maybe.  CNN reported late yesterday that the Obama administration would stop all aid this week, a report which was immediately denied by the White House — but they did tell Reuters and others that new policies on aid would be announced this week. Today, the Washington Post reports that the aid pressure will be more nuanced:

The Obama administration will announce curbs on a significant part of nonessential military aid to Egypt within a few days, U.S. officials said Tuesday, marking a shift in America’s relations with one of its key Arab allies.

Officials would not provide figures about how much of the annual $1.2 billion in military aid would be withheld, but they said the primary focus will be a hold on the shipment of a dozen AH-64D Apache helicopters from an order placed four years ago.

Provision of crucial spare parts for the extensive U.S. military equipment that Egypt already has and training for the country’s armed forces will continue, officials said. They said aid that supports counterterrorism initiatives and Egypt’s relations with Israel, including security efforts in the Sinai Peninsula and monitoring along the border with the Gaza Strip, would also continue.

U.S. officials described the decision — which comes three months after a military coup toppled Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president — on the condition of anonymity. Neither Congress nor Egyptian officials have been notified of the decision, and the announcement could be postponed.

The last time the Obama administration made an issue of the coup, 638 Egyptians died in eruptions of violence in mid-August.  The coup itself took place more than three months ago.  The White House had come under pressure to acknowledge the coup initially and cut off aid, but no one has talked about it since.  more than a month ago, the Washington Post editorial board lamented the fact that Obama had lost focus on Egypt.

What’s the point now of stirring the pot?  The military coup may have angered the West and the Muslim Brotherhood, but Egyptians appear to have adjusted back to military rule, for better or worse.  In the present climate, the West hardly needs to compound its failed policy of pressuring the army to hold quick elections, and this time the army seems disinclined to comply anyway.

In fact, they seem ready to double down:

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will go on trial on Nov. 4 on charges of incitement to the killing of opponents while he was in office, an Egyptian court announced Wednesday.

Morsi was ousted in a popularly-backed coup on July 3 and has been held incommunicado at an unknown location and has not been seen since, though he has spoken to his family twice and was visited by EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and an African Union delegation.

According to Wednesday’s court decision, the 62-year old Morsi will be tried before a criminal court for allegedly inciting his supporters to kill at least 10 people, use violence and unlawfully detain and torture anti-Morsi protesters.

Fourteen other members of the Muslim Brotherhood will be tried along with Morsi, including top aides and leading members of the group.

When elections do come, the man at the top of the coup may try his hand in electoral politics — or at least that’s what some fear:

Egypt’s army chief, who orchestrated the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July, should not run for the leadership in elections due to be held next year, the head of the biggest liberal party told Reuters.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said in an interview with an Egyptian newspaper that now was the wrong time to raise the issue of whether he would stand for the presidency.

But he did not rule out taking part in any contest, and speculation has been rising that the former military intelligence officer under toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak could contest the vote.

“I don’t think this is advisable and I don’t think it would be a good thing for Sisi and the country that Sisi runs for the presidency,” said Sayed El-Masry, head of the Al Dostour Party which is a major part of the country’s main leftist and liberal coalition, the National Salvation Front.

“He is doing the country the best favor he can do from his position as a military chief,” Masry said in an interview. “Sisi’s nomination will give the wrong image to the world that what happened was a coup.”

Besides, why shift away from the real power in the country?


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What is a sunni muslim president to do?

DanMan on October 9, 2013 at 10:48 AM

You know, “Popularly supported coup” to oust a government doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me at all. I can think of another government that could use an ousting.

Wino on October 9, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I heard this earlier on my local news affiliate. The ticker read, “White House angry over media release that it has cut aid to Egypt”.

“Someone has suggested that we are no longer sending tax money abroad to our enemies! We must put a stop to this at once before it makes us look bad and damages our image!”

Pale Rider on October 9, 2013 at 10:52 AM

It must be the government shutdown. If the Government can’t provide the families of five American soldiers money to bury their dead, Egyptian soldiers don’t need it either.

Steve Z on October 9, 2013 at 10:54 AM

The vengeful Obama strikes again: “It’s the Muslim Brotherhood way or no way!!!”

albill on October 9, 2013 at 10:54 AM

What’s the point now of stirring the pot?

Obama’s foreign policy, for whatever reason, has been to finance and support extremist Sunni Islam groups, whether the Muslim Brotherhood or the Syrian branch of al-Qaida. A big chunk of the Libyan “freedom fighters” were Sunni Islamists. This is to be contrasted with the opposition groups in Iran, which Obama has consistently refused to support (while at the same time enraging Iran by consistently backing Sunni Islamists waging war with its proxy state, Syria).

Why the administration is doing this is unknown to me, but they’ve persistently backed Sunni Islamists for years now and their stubborn refusal to back down indicates to me that this is a serious policy as opposed to Obama just flailing around mindlessly. I would love to know who exactly is making foreign policy in the Obama administration. I do not think it is Kerry or Hillary and Obama certainly isn’t bright enough.

Doomberg on October 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

You know, “Popularly supported coup” to oust a government doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me at all. I can think of another government that could use an ousting.

Wino on October 9, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I have a problem with calling this a ‘coup’, but I am not aware of a better word in the English language.

US military officers take an oath to the Constitution. If a US president became a tyrant and the US military refused his orders and had him arrested for not following the Constitution, would that be a ‘coup’?

That’s what happened in Egypt.

slickwillie2001 on October 9, 2013 at 11:08 AM

He’s only stopping aid now because his Muslim Brotherhood buddies got the boot.

TarheelBen on October 9, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Egypt?

Ben Hur on October 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM

When a very hostile to Israel Muslim Brotherhood was running the show this wasn’t considered, AFAIK.

And while Mubarrak was in charge it wasn’t considered, AFAIK.

But now that the military, which is not as hostile to Israel as the MB, is back in charge Comrade O is considering cutting off aid.

Without getting into (meaningless) left-wing “nuance”, it appears Comrade O is basically a supporter of the MB.

This also jibes with the fact the he and JF’n K are supporters of arming so-called “moderate” Islamists in Syria. I suppose the MB are “moderate” Islamists in their minds. IOW, if you can’t find actual real “moderate” Muslims, by objective Western standards, you subjectively pretend some that aren’t are.

farsighted on October 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Obama’s foreign policy, for whatever reason, has been to finance and support extremist Sunni Islam groups, whether the Muslim Brotherhood or the Syrian branch of al-Qaida. A big chunk of the Libyan “freedom fighters” were Sunni Islamists. This is to be contrasted with the opposition groups in Iran, which Obama has consistently refused to support (while at the same time enraging Iran by consistently backing Sunni Islamists waging war with its proxy state, Syria).

Why the administration is doing this is unknown to me, but they’ve persistently backed Sunni Islamists for years now and their stubborn refusal to back down indicates to me that this is a serious policy as opposed to Obama just flailing around mindlessly. I would love to know who exactly is making foreign policy in the Obama administration. I do not think it is Kerry or Hillary and Obama certainly isn’t bright enough.

Doomberg on October 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Seems that way to me, too.

And it doesn’t make sense to me either.

farsighted on October 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM

From last year: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/09/11/Obama-Backed-UN-Free-Speech-Restrictions–With-Egypt–in-2009

Imagine if we had a mainstream press is this country that did its job?

cynccook on October 9, 2013 at 11:40 AM

The Obama administration will announce curbs on a significant part of nonessential military aid to Egypt within a few days, U.S. officials said Tuesday, marking a shift in America’s relations with one of its key Arab allies.

We are buried in debt and digging as fast as possible, and we are giving nonessential aid to other countries?

kenro85 on October 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Why the administration is doing this is unknown to me, but they’ve persistently backed Sunni Islamists for years now and their stubborn refusal to back down indicates to me that this is a serious policy as opposed to Obama just flailing around mindlessly. I would love to know who exactly is making foreign policy in the Obama administration. I do not think it is Kerry or Hillary and Obama certainly isn’t bright enough.

Doomberg on October 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Ann Coulter and Bill Maher have correctly I think pointed out that Obama is an atheist. But obviously one with warm childhood memories of Islam. I doubt Obama could even explain the difference between Sunni and Shia given how sleepy religion makes him as in Rev Wright’s church. That his policies have tended to benefit Sunni Islamists is probably just a result of their being more Sunni Islamists to benefit from his idiotic foreign policy.

thuja on October 9, 2013 at 11:43 AM

From last year: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/09/11/Obama-Backed-UN-Free-Speech-Restrictions–With-Egypt–in-2009

Imagine if we had a mainstream press is this country that did its job?

cynccook on October 9, 2013 at 11:40 AM

The Democratic Party wants to do away with the First Amendment. It’s why Hilary stuck to her story about Benghazi. It wasn’t to cover up. It’s that she thought she could make a case for criminal prosecution of anyone who said anything to upset the precious Muslims, more worthy than you or me!

thuja on October 9, 2013 at 11:46 AM

right now the only country I would give any aid to is Israel, and yeah its a religious thing.
everyone else can KMA.

dmacleo on October 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

When a very hostile to Israel Muslim Brotherhood was running the show this wasn’t considered, AFAIK.

Actually Congress demanded that all money to Muslim Brotherhood Egypt be stopped and Obama ignored it and gave them money because of “national security” which means help Islam because Obama wants it that way.

Now that the Islamists have been removed from power Obama doesn’t want to help them, because it doesn’t help Islam destroy the world.

GardenGnome on October 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Why the administration is doing this is unknown to me, but they’ve persistently backed Sunni Islamists for years now and their stubborn refusal to back down indicates to me that this is a serious policy as opposed to Obama just flailing around mindlessly.

The reason is that Islamists and statists in general and Democrats in particular have made a pact.

Import millions of Islamists into western countries and they will vote as left-wing as possible en mass.
Muslims voted as left-wing as they could everywhere in the world including here in America.

Why do Democrats protect Islam specifically? Because they vote Democrat.
Why do statists help Islam oppress others? Because they support statists.

A pact was made, destroy their common enemy.

GardenGnome on October 9, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Doomberg on October 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

farsighted on October 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM

the part of me that hunches just sent up Valerie Jarrett as a possible reason

DanMan on October 9, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Why the administration is doing this is unknown to me, but they’ve persistently backed Sunni Islamists for years now and their stubborn refusal to back down indicates to me that this is a serious policy as opposed to Obama just flailing around mindlessly. I would love to know who exactly is making foreign policy in the Obama administration. I do not think it is Kerry or Hillary and Obama certainly isn’t bright enough.

Doomberg on October 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Ann Coulter and Bill Maher have correctly I think pointed out that Obama is an atheist. But obviously one with warm childhood memories of Islam. I doubt Obama could even explain the difference between Sunni and Shia given how sleepy religion makes him as in Rev Wright’s church. That his policies have tended to benefit Sunni Islamists is probably just a result of their being more Sunni Islamists to benefit from his idiotic foreign policy.

thuja on October 9, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Obama sees the Muslim Brotherhood as the community organizers of Islam, in competition with the Muslim cleric class that lead the ummah.

So, fellow travelers.

novaculus on October 9, 2013 at 2:44 PM

We can’t go around undermining freely elected dictatorship! What kind of message does it send to the world when the U.S. fails to support the concept of “One man, one vote, one time”?

‘Democracy’ worked so well in Gaza (thanks Dumboleeza and GW), didn’t it? So if the uniforms step in and put an end to the theocratic insanity isn’t that a good thing? Not to Resident Obozo.

In fact, can’t we just exploit our own oil resources, and just step back and let the m’fers all kill themselves? That’s got my vote.

PD Quig on October 9, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Just further proof that Obamas real friends in the Middle East are the Muslim brotherhood.

sadsushi on October 9, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Egypt probably should not accept aid from a treacherous US government at this point: better to wait. The strings attached to any such aid would probably include saving Morsi and his friends.

virgo on October 10, 2013 at 1:29 AM