The US could suspend its foreign aid to Egypt after President Obama’s top national security aides recommended the move. The aid suspension would be in response to the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
The move would be a dramatic shift for the administration, which has so far declined to call Morsi’s ouster a coup. Instead, they argued that it is in the United States national security interests to keep aid going to the Middle Eastern nation.
The United States currently sends $1.5 billion in foreign aid to Egypt, reports ABC News. Of that, $1.3 billion goes to the military, while the rest is economic.
The US officials explained that the only aid that would be suspended is the part that goes to the government. Obama will have to decide how much aid to suspend, according to the officials. The recommendation calls for a significant amount.
The Huffington Post notes that the exact amount will be up to President Obama. However, the national security aides have proposed the Egypt aid suspension to include all foreign military financing, except for money that supports security in the region.
The aid would be restored once Egypt votes in a democratically elected government. Included in the military aid is money to American companies that sell military equipment to Egypt. Officials explained that the companies would be compensated with “wind up” payments that could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
The White House and State Department have yet to comment on the proposal. National security adviser Susan Rise has reportedly outlined the strategy for suspending aid to Egypt.
The Obama administration’s decision to suspend aid would be a reversal from its initial decision after the July 3 ouster of Morsi. At that time, the administration decided it wasn’t in the United States’ national interest to determine if a coup had happened in Egypt.
However, the military has violently cracked down on Morsi’s supporters, causing the president’s advisers to reconsider their position. Obama has canceled a joint military exercise and also announced the new review of assistance. It is unclear if he will take action on the recommendation to suspend aid to Egypt.