The $1.5-Billion Word: “Coup”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
(graphic: COUP Magazine)

The president was arrested and the constitution suspended by the military, which took to the streets to establish order. What transpired recently in Egypt sure looked like a coup, but the Obama administration is refusing to use the word for 1.5 billion reasons.


If President Barack Obama declares the Egyptian military did indeed seize power, his administration would be forced under federal law to suspend all assistance to the Middle Eastern country.


That aid totals about $1.5 billion, nearly all of which ($1.3 billion) is military support.


On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said it was in the “best interests” of the U.S. government to not decide yet whether an armed overthrow took place in Egypt.


“We have had a long relationship with Egypt and the Egyptian people and it would not be wise to abruptly change our assistance program,” Carney told the media. “The smart policy is to review this matter.”


Meanwhile, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) has called for suspending all aid to Egypt, saying the actions there speak for themselves.


“It is difficult for me to conclude that what happened was anything other than a coup in which the military played a decisive role,” McCain told The Guardian, who added that he does “not want to suspend our critical assistance to Egypt but I believe that is the right thing to do at this time.”


Opponents of deposed leader Mohamed Morsi say the ouster should not be seen as a coup because the majority of the people supported the military’s actions.


“It’s not a coup because the military did not take power,” Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador in Washington, told Foreign Policy magazine. “The military did not initiate it. It was a popular uprising. The military stepped in in order to avoid violence.”


On Monday it was reported that government forces and police opened fire on civilian protestors, killing 51 and wounding 400.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

White House Sidesteps 'Coup' Questions as US Continues Aid to Egypt (by Dan Roberts, The Guardian)

A Coup? Or Something Else? $1.5 Billion in U.S. Aid Is on the Line (by Peter Baker, New York Times)

Apparent Egyptian Military Coup Puts Obama in Bind on Aid (by Zeke J. Miller, Time)

Provisions Relevant To The Situation In Egypt In The FY12 State Department And Foreign Operations Appropriations Law (Patrick Leahy, United Senator for Vermont – website)

Morsi Seizes Dictatorial Powers in Egypt (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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