Why Obama needs Egypt

But Obama has domestic issues to consider. Republicans McCain and Graham returned from Cairo frustrated and support freezing aid to Egypt. Republican Senator Rand Paul, who is opposed to the transfer of any American aid to foreign countries and backs a complete American withdrawal from the entire Middle East, demands that the US stop supplying weapons to an army that kills civilians. Liberal Democrats such as Patrick Leahy are also calling to stop the transfer of aid to Egypt. On the other hand, numerous senators and members Congress who have Israel’s interests in mind are keeping mum on the issue. They apparently support what former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton is saying publicly – that assistance should be given to allies of Israel and the US. One such ally is the Egyptian army.

It is hard to imagine that Obama will cut off aid to Egypt. The military coup in Pakistan during the Bush administration did not stop the transfer of American aid. This is not what the Egyptian army is concerned about as it is fighting for its survival. The aid allows the Americans to talk to the Egyptian generals, and Washington must keep in mind that Russia is waiting right around the corner, to fill any void that may be created.

This is why Obama is operating slowly. Following Morsi’s ouster, the Pentagon froze the transfer of four out of six F-16s it was supposed to supply to Egypt. Both sides can withstand this. Obama also announced the cancellation of a joint military drill in Sinai. Egypt can withstand this as well, mainly due to the fact that its soldiers are busy suppressing the riots in Egypt’s cities and fighting terrorists in Sinai.