The Obama Administration is still not willing to call the coup in Egypt a coup, but there are reports that the United States is quietly behaving as though it has, putting a halt to "most" of the military aid it gives to Cairo. The office of Senator Patrick Leahy, who is the chairman of the committee that oversees the funding told Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast that the Senator's "understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted." CNN calls it a "reprogramming" of funds, that could temporarily redirect the money elsewhere until the Americans are ready to start it up again.
If the reports are true, it could be that the Obama Administration has found a workaround from the legal requirement that all foreign aid must be cut off if a country experiences a coup. By not making a formal ruling on the word "coup," the U.S. can turn the funds "on and off" without going through a review process. Should the situation improve, they can simply reverse the decision — and they don't even have to declare what criteria would lead them start the flow again. That gives them some leverage over the Egyptian military leaders currently running the country, even if the Americans' failure to publicly and definitively pull the money is being seen as a tacit endorsement of the military's overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, which has so far led to around 1,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, the military continues to blame those deaths on the Muslim Brotherhood. On Tuesday, they arrested Mohammed Badie, the organization's "spiritual leader" who hasn't been seen in public since July 3, when Morsi was removed from office. Despite being marginalized and outlawed for most of its existence, Badie and other spiritual leaders have never been arrested, not even by former dictator Hosni Mubarak, suggesting that the current ruling government has crossed a serious "red line." His arrest, on charges of inciting violence in Cairo, is intended to stamp out the ongoing MB protests, but is likely to only enrage their supporters even more and possibly lead to a new round of violent clashes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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