-- Three months after President
ordered a review of U.S. aid to Egypt following a
appears to have settled on a middle ground: maintaining key assistance for security and counter-terrorism efforts while suspending delivery of tanks, helicopters and other military hardware.
The decision, which officials said would be announced within days, reflects the Obama administration’s desire to rebuke the Egyptian military for its ever-expanding crackdown on the
The future of U.S. assistance to Egypt – a $1.55-billion annual package widely viewed as a linchpin of stability in the Middle East – has been one of the most vexing questions for the administration since the Egyptian army deposed the country's democratically elected president,
Though officials declined to discuss details of the review before the formal announcement, White House spokesman
"We will continue to support a democratic transition and oppose violence as a means of resolving differences in Egypt. And our relationship with the Egyptian government, including U.S. assistance to Egypt, will continue," Carney said. "But any announcement about the future of our assistance relationship will come after we've made the appropriate diplomatic and congressional notifications."
Administration officials told reporters this week that they planned to withhold a substantial amount of
In a speech to the
"We'll continue support in areas like education that directly benefit the Egyptian people," Obama said. "But we have not proceeded with the delivery of certain military systems, and our support will depend upon Egypt's progress in pursuing a more democratic path."
Soon after the July 3 coup, the administration announced that it would delay the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets and canceled a mostly ceremonial joint exercise between the U.S. and Egyptian militaries.
The decision on what to do about the remainder of the U.S. aid package – which dates to the 1979
Analysts said that if Obama announces a partial aid suspension, it will represent a slap on the wrist of the Egyptian military while allowing the administration to show that it disapproves of the moves the generals are making.
“With this partial suspension, it hopes to make clear that there is some price (largely symbolic and perhaps temporary) for ignoring U.S. preferences,” wrote Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the
"The military played a decisive role in the overthrow of a deeply flawed but democratically elected government, and its excessive use of force in recent weeks cannot be condoned," Schiff said in a statement. "At the same time, our relationship with Egypt is an important one and the United States has a core national interest in a stable and democratic Egypt."