Last week, Israel asked the US not to cut off the $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt after the recent coup. The request was transmitted via several different channels according to a senior US official.
The newspaper Haaretz quotes a US official as saying that there were marathon phone calls about the coup between the US and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Israeli Defense Minister spoke with the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Also, the Israeli National Security Advisor spoke with Susan Rice his US counterpart.
The talks were in part designed to coordinate US and Israeli positions on the crisis in Egypt. During the talks, the Israeli side warned that any cutting of military aid to Egypt could have a negative impact on Israeli security, especially given the unstable situation in the Sinai. The Israelis also warned that cutting off aid could seriously undermine the Egyptian Israeli peace treaty. While American aid is not part of the Camp David Accords, it started as a result of the agreement and the US is also a signatory to the security annex to the agreement. US aid continued even after the assassination of President Sadat in 1981 and after Mubarak's ouster in 2011 and with the election of Morsi. The one condition for continuing aid seems to be that Egypt honor the peace treaty.
The Israelis fear that any cut in aid might weaken the Egyptian army commitment to keep to the terms of the treaty. As shown in an earlier Digital Journal article, the Egyptian army is very much dependent upon the US for funding and also training with many of its senior officers being trained in the US.
The senior US official also said that both sides were satisfied with the ousting of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood supported government, but both also said that power should be transferred to a civilian government soon and free elections held.
Senator John McCain among others holds that a military coup had taken place and all aid must be halted. However, the State Department, Department of Defense and the White House all believe that continued aid is in US security interests. As explained in another Digital Journal article this is why the term "coup" is never used by US officials.
The deliberate waffling on the issue is set out by White House spokesperson Jay Carney who says that the administration has not yet determined that this was a military coup:“It’s our view that it would not be wise to abruptly change our assistance program..To be blunt, there are significant consequences that go along with this determination, and it is a highly charged issue for millions of Egyptians who have different views about what happened." Carney also noted that millions of Egyptians supported the army moves and did not consider them a coup. Carney said the administration would take as much time as it considered necessary to decide how to describe the recent events. He predicted that continuation of the aid would depend upon how quickly there was a transition to a democratic government. Perhaps instead of "democratic" Carney should have written "a government that the US approved." The US will no doubt use its aid as well as its influence and connections with the Egyptian army to ensure that Egypt moves in the direction that the US approves. Carney said that the Obama administration would still provide aid to Egypt while it was reviewing the situation.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com