US Cuts Millions In Egypt Military Aid

The US cut millions in military aid to Egypt on Wednesday, citing displeasure over the country’s pace of restoring democracy after the July ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.

The United States currently sends $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt, the majority of it going toward the nation’s military. The State Department said that hundreds of millions of dollars will be cut, though a specific number wasn’t given.

USA Today reports that the announcement was made by the US State Department. Spokeswoman Jan Psaki explained that the US will halt delivery of some large-scale military systems as well as cash assistance.

Aid will likely be restored once the Egyptian government shows “credible progress” toward an inclusive government that is set up by free and fair elections.

Among the reported cuts are 10 Apache helicopters, which cost about $500 million, notes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The United States already delayed a planned delivery of fighter jets to the country.

The decision for the US to cut aid to Egypt will likely create more friction between the two governments. It could also have a wider impact than that, pushing Egypt to seek help from US rivals.

While military aid will be cut, the US will still send health and education assistance and money to Egypt to help the country secure its borders, counter terrorism, and ensure security in the region. Still, the decision wasn’t favorable to everyone.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) commented that any plan to cut military aid in Egypt is a mistake. He explained in a statement that the decision to continue sending military aid “should be based on our national security interests and those of our allies in the region.” Engel went on to explain:

“If the choice is between working with Egypt’s military leadership or the Muslim Brotherhood, then I believe we must not jeopardize the decades-long relationship we have built with the military.”

The US decision to cut Egypt military aid will likely have long-term consequences.

[Image by U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Carmichael Yepez via Wikimedia Commons]