Top US lawmakers have quietly agreed to temporarily suspend most military aid to Egypt, indicating that behind the scenes Washington is starting to treat the military’s ouster of President Morsi as a coup, according to a new report.
The Obama administration has temporarily halted the delivery of
weapons to the Egyptian military as well as some forms of
economic aid to the government, despite deciding not to
officially describe the military takeover as a coup. The office
of Senator Patrick Leahy, the head of the Appropriations State
and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast on
Monday that the administration has implemented these changes over
the past month as it formulates an official determination on the
If a coup is determined to have taken place, current law requires the government to cut off aid funding. However, the White House maintains this has not yet been decided upon and the $585 million aid package is not technically on hold. It is not due until September 30 and “no final decisions have been made,” officials said.
"That review has not concluded and published reports to the contrary that assistance to Egypt has been cut off are not accurate," Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, told reporters in a briefing Tuesday.
He added that Obama will meet on Tuesday with his national security team to discuss Egypt and the aid issues surrounding the country.
Multiple sources said that US leaders are acting as if a coup had
taken place, even as lawmakers work to formulate their official
“The decision was we’re going to avoid saying it was a coup, but to stay on the safe side of the law, we are going to act as if the designation has been made for now,” one official told The Daily Beast. “By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.”
The US will also hold off on delivering a fleet of Apache
helicopters that the Egyptian military has already paid for, and
will not yet deposit economic support funds for programs that are
expected to directly help the government - although the Obama
administration has repeatedly denied claims of this
“Programs with the government designed to promote free and
fair elections, health assistance, programs for the environment,
democracy, rule of law, and good governance can also continue in
cases even where a legal restriction might apply,”
Psaki said on Monday. “But to the extent where
there are ESF programs that would benefit the government, which
is obviously, a section, we are reviewing each of those programs
on a case by case basis to identify whether we have the authority
to continue providing those funds or should seek to modify our
activities to ensure that our actions are consistent with the
Last week, Obama criticized the Egyptian military’s violent crackdown on protests - an assault that killed hundreds of civilians - but refused to directly comment on US aid to the African nation.
“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said.