The continued unrest in Egypt following the overthrow of the country's democratically-elected president in early July hasn't just been sidelined in the news cycle by the past fortnight's focus on Syria. President Obama is reportedly waiting until after Congress finishes discussing Syria before he decides on possibly suspending some of the U.S.'s continued aid to Egypt.
According to the Associated Press, Obama's national security aides have advised him to suspend some aid to the county's government in response to an escalating government crackdown against Muslim Brotherhood loyalists in the country. The president received that recommendation a week ago, but officials don't think he'll make a decision until after Monday, at least, when Congress is expected to vote on a resolution to give the president the authority to use military force in Syria.
The recommendation itself wouldn't suspend all aid to the country. Egypt gets 1.5 billion in aid a year ($1.3 billion in military assistance) from the U.S., and only money going right to the government, as opposed to other groups in Egypt, would be hit. According to the Hill, the proposed suspension wouldn't include aid going to security in the Sinai Peninsula. Here's how it would affect American companies who get paid to make the weapons and equipment the U.S. sends to Eygpt as aid (via the AP):
Assistance that is used to pay American companies that sell Egypt military equipment would be suspended if Obama accepts the recommendation but those firms would be compensated with so-called "wind up" payments that could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the officials.
Last month, just after hundreds were killed and thousands injured in a military crackdown against protestors supporting ousted president Mohammed Morsi, Secretary of State John Kerry said that U.S. aid to Egypt was "under review." But the administration wasn't ready to make a decision yet on its suspension. The administration also hasn't indicated whether they'll decide to call the military overthrow, prompted by popular support in Egypt, of the unpopular Morsi government, a "coup." Doing so would automatically trigger the suspension of U.S. aid to the country.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.