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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Obama 'secretly' suspended aid to Egypt, Israel warns of consequences for 'peace process'

Both the Daily Beast and CNN are reporting that the Obama administration has quietly suspended military aid to Egypt. This is from the first link.
The U.S. government has decided privately to act as if the military takeover of Egypt was a coup, temporarily suspending most forms of military aid, despite deciding not to announce publicly a coup determination one way or the other, according to a leading U.S. senator.
In the latest example of its poorly understood Egypt policy, 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. The administration won’t publicly acknowledge all aspects of the aid suspension and maintains its rhetorical line that no official coup determination has been made, but behind the scenes, 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, told The Daily Beast 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.
The administration’s public message is that $585 million of promised aid to the Egyptian military in fiscal 2013 is not officially on hold, as technically it is not due until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, and no final decisions have been made.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers and staffers complained that the administration is trying to skirt congressional intent by refusing to say whether it believes there was a coup in Egypt while implementing its own preliminary punitive measures outside the confines of the legislation.
“This approach seems to be too cute by half, leaving the U.S. with little leverage in Egypt and appearing to condone gross violations of human rights in the process,” said one senior GOP Senate aide. “It is also unclear that Congress intended to give the Executive Branch this much leeway in implementing the coup provision in Section 7008 [of the law].”
Israel has warned the United States that alienating Egypt could damage the 'peace process.'
According to the report, Israel and the US's Gulf allies are urging the Obama administration to encourage the Egyptian military to confront rather than reconcile with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Israel is interested in an Egyptian government that will aggressively fight the Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula and protect the border, the report said.
The paper quotes an Israeli official as calling anti-Muslim Brotherhood nations "the axis of reason."
The head of the Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research and Information, Gershon Baskin, is quoted by the paper as saying Israel's leaders view Islamist president Mohamed Morsi's overthrow as "an opportune time to give a real blow to political Islam throughout the region and get the more sensible people back in power."
Despite that, Israel remains wary of the Egyptian military, fearing the army's crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters could spark an Islamist insurgency that could erode Israeli security, the Journal reported.
As a result, Israel has been pushing the US not to cut its military aid to Egypt, the Journal reported, arguing that such a cut would jeopardize counterterrorism cooperation in Sinai and the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian Camp David peace accord.
Can anyone tell me what the Obama administration's policy on Egypt is? You can have as many words as you want, but I guarantee you that the only thing you can explain about it is that they want Morsy and the Brotherhood back in power.

What could go wrong?

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