Following a series of confusing Tuesday evening reports, the State Department announced on Wednesday that the U.S. is suspending some aid to Egypt in the wake of continued unrest in the country. The suspended aid, totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars, encompasses both military and non-military aid. The U.S. provides $1.5 billion and annual aid to the country.
The suspended aid is mostly military. U.S. aid to Egypt comes both in cash and in the form of military equipment, and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told the AP that the U.S. would partially suspend or delay both forms of aid. Health and education assistance will continue, along with security assistance at the Sinai peninsula, the department added. The State Department didn't give an exact amount for the aid being suspended. $1.2 billion, a large portion of the U.S.'s aid package to Egypt, is military. Currently, the U.S. has yet to pay some $584 million in promised aid to Egypt for 2013.
Reuters, citing an unnamed source, added the following details:
The United States will withhold deliveries of Abrams tanks, F-16 aircraft, Apache helicopters and Harpoon missiles from Egypt as it cuts back on aid, a congressional source said. Washington also plans to halt a $260 million cash transfer and a planned $300 million loan guarantee to the Cairo government, the source said.
The U.S. refused to call the military ouster of democratically-elected Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi a coup, allowing the administration some flexibility in its decision to cut, suspend, or continue aid to the country. A White House declaration that the Egyptian change of power was a coup would have required an automatic suspension of aid to the country. And, given Wednesday's reports, that's clearly not what the U.S. wanted, even after months of violence prompted the administration to do something in response. On Wednesday, Jay Carney told reporters that American aid couldn't continue as normal after the past few months, adding that any announcement would come only after "appropriate diplomatic and congressional notifications.”
Tuesday night, CNN reported that the U.S. was suspending aid to Egypt in response to increasing violence in the country, namely a military crackdown against supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi. But that strongly-worded report, which relied on a single anonymous source, prompted the White House to push back with a statement denying a suspension of "all" aid to Egypt. Over the weekend, at least 53 pro-Morsi supporters, along with 9 members of Egyptian security forces, were killed in the latest round of clashes in the country. That violence prompted an expression of concern from the White House.