“They’re trying to provoke [the severing of US aid],” says Robert Springborg, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “Because they’re desperate and they want to present themselves as popular defenders of the nation. So what better way to do it?”

Furthermore, he argues, “It wouldn’t mean a thing” to Egypt’s military were the aid to stop. “A great bulk of that has gone into the procurement of weapons systems that have not been used, are not likely to be used, and that [Egyptian forces] haven’t been properly trained on.”

The $1.3 billion in aid isn’t given as cash to Egypt’s military. Instead, it is used to buy US-made military equipment for Egypt, or to pay for upgrades or maintenance for military equipment.