The White House stated today that aid to Egypt will continue, and that suspending it at this point is not in the best interests of the U.S. This comes as some pressure had been building over the legality of continued financial support of the embattled nation. Those that were opposed to continued support were arguing that monies had been authorized to support a democratically elected government, not a military regime that had removed elected officials.
Fox News reports:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, saying repeatedly that the situation is “complex,” made clear that the administration plans to slow-walk any final decision on U.S. aid. The underlying issue is whether the U.S. government considers the toppling of Morsi to be a military coup — under U.S. law, the government is required to suspend aid in the event of such an overthrow.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reiterated his belief on Monday that the overthrow was clearly a coup, and the consequences under U.S. law are unavoidable.
“I do not want to suspend our critical assistance to Egypt, but I believe that is the right thing to do at this time,” McCain said.
Carney, though, would not describe the ouster as a coup. He said the administration would “take the time necessary” to evaluate that question — but in the near-term, cutting off aid would not behoove the United States.
“I think it would not be in the best interest of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs,” Carney said.
The Obama Administration has been under fire for its handling of foreign policy with Egypt, Libya, and Syria, primarily over inaction, and this is yet another situation where it is choosing not to act. The continued support in Egypt should raise questions in the coming days and weeks, not the least of which being who is actually in charge in that nation, how the aid is being used, and whether or not military resources supplied by the U.S. are being used against civilians on the ground.
The timing of this statement is not reassuring, since it comes in the wake of a military action in Egypt that resulted in the deaths of at least 51 persons. The attack was in retaliation for the death of a member of the military, presumably killed by a protester involved with the Muslim Brotherhood.