Coup or No Coup? Shipment of F-16s to Egypt Signals White House Position

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The White House is still hedging on officially labeling what happened in Egypt a coup d'état, but the announcement that the U.S. will still send a batch of F-16 fighter jets to the country in a matter of weeks seems to indicate what their position ultimately will be. 

As part of a billion-dollar foreign aid deal approved in December 2012, the U.S. made a commitment to send 20 F-16 fighters jets to Egypt before the end of this year. The next four are scheduled to be delivered within the next few weeks, and Reuters reports there are no plans to halt that shipment despite what's going on. "There is no current change in the plan to deliver F-16s to the Egyptian military," an anonymous U.S. defense official told Reuters

On Monday, the White House was still stumbling and fumbling around what to officially call the Egyptian military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. "This is a complex and difficult issue, with significant consequences," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. And he's right, it is complex! If the White House decides this coup is a coup, they have to suspend $1.5 billion in assistance to Egypt. But this newly leaked delivery of F-16 fighter jets, the first outward show of support the White House has made for Egypt since the turnover, puts the writing on the wall: 

During his briefing with reporters today, Carney was similarly abrupt and avoided committing to anything. "We are in regular communication with the authorities in Egypt at a variety of levels," he told the White House press corps, while later refusing to answer any questions about the F-16 report. He said it still wasn't in the White House's best interests to change their national security stance on Egypt, yet. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.