National Security Brief: U.S. Won’t Suspend Aid To Egypt, Yet

(Credit: Reuters)

One big question in Washington in the aftermath of the Egyptian military’s ouster of democratically elected President Mohammad Morsi was whether the United States would cut of its more than $1 billion in aid to Egypt.

Under U.S. law, American assistance cannot be sent to any government installed by a military coup. The Obama administration, and others, have refrained from describing the situation in Egypt this way, in part because of the popular uprising that accompanied the Egyptian military’s action.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that cutting the aid at this time — which some, like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), argue the U.S. should do — would not be in American interests. “We are going to examine this and monitor this and take the time necessary in making the determination in a manner that’s consistent with our policy objectives and our national security interests,” he said. “But we do not believe that it is in our interests to make a precipitous decision or determination to change our assistance program right away.”

Middle East expert Aaron David Miller told the New York Times: “Fact is, the administration is in an investment trap in Egypt. Both our interests and our values — hope for a democratic transition — demand a close working relationship with the generals.”

The Obama administration is also working with Morsi’s allies, urging them to re-engage in the country’s political process, the Wall Street Journal reports. However, the Muslim Brotherhood — responding to alleged military attacks on peaceful pro-Morsi demonstrators — called for an “uprising” against the interim military government, warning that the country is heading toward civil war.

Meanwhile, the military called for a rapid transition to civilian democracy, laying out a “brisk timetable to overhaul Egypt’s suspended Constitution, elect a new Parliament and choose a new president, all in the space of about six months.”

In other news:

  • The New York Times reports: Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a “zero option” that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.
  • Reuters reports: Congressional committees are holding up a plan to send U.S. weapons to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because of fears that such deliveries will not be decisive and the arms might end up in the hands of Islamist militants, five U.S. national security sources said.
  • The Washington Post reports: American-made devices used for Internet monitoring have been detected on government and commercial computer networks in Iran and Sudan, in apparent violation of U.S. sanctions that ban the sale of goods, services or technology to the autocratic states, according to new research.
  • Reuters adds: Iran is to assign all citizens an individual email address which the communications minister said on Monday would aid interaction between state authorities and the people.
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