Pressed on whether the Obama administration views the recent military-led uprising that removed former President Muhammad Morsi in Egypt as a coup, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that, “We have determined that we do not have to make a determination.”
Meanwhile, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, is in Egypt at Obama’s behest, with his colleague Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and McCain pretty straightforwardly called the uprisings a coup.
“We have said we share the democratic aspirations and criticism of the Morsi’s government that led millions of Egyptians into the streets,” McCain said to reporters in Cairo today. “We’ve also said that the circumstances of [Morsi’s] removal was a coup.”
After delaying a shipment of F-16s to Egypt while it mulled its options, the White House went forward with the delivery and informed Congress they did not want to classify to the uprising in Egypt as a coup.
Secretary of State John Kerry is even more confused. He initially heralded the Egyptian military for “restoring democracy,” then admonished them for the harsh treatment of Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
This isn’t mindless political rhetoric. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act requires foreign aid to stop in the event of a coup:
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.
Egypt is slated to receive $US1.3 billion in U.S. aid money over the next year.
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