White House Still Deciding on Egyptian Aid Package
(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is likely to wait until after Congress votes on the matter of launching a military strike against Syria before deciding what to do about another urgent foreign policy situation: Egypt. Specifically, the White House has held off on what do about a $1.5 billion aid package to Cairo for the past two months following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
There are reports that those in Obama's tight circle of security advisers are urging him to at least suspend a substantial portion of the assistance, about $1.3 billion of which goes directly to the military that spearheaded Morsi's removal following several days of massive demonstrations.
U.S. laws call for the nation to cut off aid to governments established by a coup although the administration has been reluctant to designate the situation in Egypt as such in fear of alienating a longtime ally in the volatile region.
However, with Egypt virtually under martial law and no signs yet of compromise from the interim government, Obama's hand may be forced.
It's believed the president could suspend most of the military aid package while allowing funds for the army to continue protecting the area of Sinai peninsula and along the border with Gaza in order to maintain Israel's security.
Another problem with suspending aid is how Egypt's military would react. Before its strong alliance with Washington, Cairo received assistance from Russia and there's the possibility that this relationship could be rekindled if the U.S. cuts off funds to Egypt.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio