Senator Reveals: U.S. Quietly Halted Aid to Egypt

August 20, 2013  

The U.S. government has temporarily suspended most forms of military aid to Egypt, despite deciding not to announce publicly that the ouster of Mohammed Morsi was a coup, a leading U.S. senator told the Daily Beast.

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 with Egypt, according to the report.

A formal declaration that the military-backed ouster of Morsi was a coup would entail stopping all U.S. aid to Egypt. The U.S. has not taken this step but behind the scenes, the report says, “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, confirmed on Monday that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

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

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that “it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding.”

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,” said one administration official. “By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.”

Several parts of the aid are now temporarily on hold, including the disbursement of $585 million out of $1.3 billion in fiscal 2013 foreign military financing that has still not been delivered to the Egyptian military, as well as the delivery of Apache helicopters that Egypt has already paid for, and the depositing of economic support funds for programs that would directly benefit the Egyptian government.

The United States said on Monday it has not yet made a decision on whether to freeze economic assistance to Egypt

There are reports that Israel is conducting a diplomatic offensive against the cutting off of U.S. aid to Egypt. Israeli diplomats are reportedly trying to convince Americans and Europeans that while the military-backed government in Egypt is bad – the alternative is much worse.

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