Ever since the Arab Spring in 2011, the aid the US sends to Egypt has been a point of political contention between Republicans and the White House. The recent protests have come because of the eruption of protests in Egypt following the ousting and forthcoming trial of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. Reportedly, there has been increasing violence against protesters, which has prompted the White House to respond.
The Washington Post reports that the “Obama administration will announce curbs on a significant part of nonessential military aid to Egypt within a few days,” according to US officials. Currently, the US sends $1.2 billion in military aid and it is unclear how much of that will be withheld, although apparently a shipment of Apache helicopters ordered four years ago by the Mubarak-controlled military. Although it is expected that shipments of spare parts of military equipment they already possess and training assistance will continue.
The Washington Post, CNN, and Reuters all reported the story with anonymous sources, and most acknowledge that the breaking of this story might further delay the announcement since both Egypt and Congress had yet to hear about this move. Reuter’s source was less certain, saying that the US is only “leaning toward” holding back everything but counterrorism operations and security on the Sinai Peninsula.
During protests in Egypt last December, close to a dozen people were killed in clashes outside of the Presidential palace after Morsi expanded his executive powers. The military still holds power in the country, which is alarming many because Egypt, as the region’s largest country, was hoped to be a democratic success after the elections that resulted from the Arab Spring protests.
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President Obama reportedly has yet to make a final decision on the matter.