News / USA

Obama Caught in Dilemma on Egypt

Obama Caught in Dilemma on Egypt i
X
August 17, 2013 5:54 PM
As the Egyptian military continues its bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and other protesters, U.S. President Barack Obama is facing a dwindling range of options for dealing with the crisis. Mr. Obama has, so far, refused to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt's interim government, as VOA's Kent Klein reports from the White House.
VIDEO: As the Egyptian military continues its bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and other protesters, U.S. President Barack Obama is facing a dwindling range of options for dealing with the crisis.
Kent Klein
As the Egyptian military continues its bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and other protesters, U.S. President Barack Obama is facing a dwindling range of options for dealing with the crisis. Obama has, so far, refused to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt's interim government.

The president has made it clear that his administration is rethinking its dealings with Egypt's military.

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said during a Thursday announcement that the U.S. had cancelled upcoming, biannual joint military exercises.

Obama has avoided labeling the military's overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi last month as a "coup." Such a statement would automatically halt $1.3 billion of U.S. aid each year to Egypt's military. The White House is worried that doing so would diminish U.S. influence with the military leaders.

Some prominent American Muslims, including Mahdi Bray, were hoping for tougher action.

“We, the American Muslim Alliance, we want to make it very clear that we will continue a vigorous campaign of what we call 'no cash for coup' — calling for the immediate suspension of U.S. assistance [and] financial aid to Egypt as the result of, indeed, the coup,” said Bray.

Tarek Radwan, associate director for research at Washington’s Rafik Hariri Center, calls that a positive step. But he said the United States' ability to affect the behavior of Egypt's armed forces was fading.

“Because the engagement with Egypt has been so limited and so narrowly focused, we have very few options, and thereby have very little influence over what is going to happen now. The last semblance of assertive action that we can take is to, in fact, suspend military aid,” said Radwan.

Egypt's military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, was probably willing to risk losing the U.S. aid, according to Daniel Serwer, a scholar at Washington’s Middle East Institute, because Egypt's neighbors were making much bigger donations.

“I think General Sissi, before this crackdown, must have calculated, ‘I lose the American assistance.’ What he calculated [was] that this was an existential struggle between him and the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he had to do this in order to survive,” Serwer said.

But Radwan said a stoppage of aid could have some impact. He did not believe the Egyptian military wanted to jeopardize relations with Washington.

“The aid is not only about the money. It is about the relationship itself. It is about the ability to engage with the United States, and cutting that off would begin a sense of isolation that I do not think even the Egyptian military would be very comfortable with,” said Radwan.

As the crisis continues in Egypt, Obama's policies are likely to evolve further.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: david
August 19, 2013 10:49 AM
cut all aid to general and its butchers NOW

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 18, 2013 9:36 AM
President Obama or the US has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or any country. How could Egyptians trust the US if the US provides political support to the ousted President Morsi and Moslem Brotherhood, at the same time providing 1.3 billion dollars every year to the Egyptian military? US should come clean before the US has any influence in international affairs. The best President Obama can do is to permanently stop all military aid to the Egyptian military and save dollars to balance the budget in the U.S..

by: ali baba from: new york
August 17, 2013 5:43 PM
if Obama has magic formula to deal with Egypt, he can use this formula in Afghisstan where 1000 American soldiers killed by radical Muslim. What Egypt did is appropriate for radical group such as Muslim brotherhood .Obama please get education about Muslim brotherhood behavior
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 18, 2013 8:19 AM
This is what happens when a country is led the lobby and not by what the general public wants.

by: Ann from: anywherebutMURICA
August 17, 2013 3:44 PM
Oh what a tangle web he weaves.

President : Weapon of Mass Destruction - Barry Ohbomber

by: Charlie123 from: Phoenix
August 17, 2013 3:24 PM
Headline is shallow. It is the civilized countries such as within Nato that have the dilemma not just Obama. Sure the USA has its aid program to Egypt but that aside it is a real dilemma whether to support democracy or military rule.

by: Climp Jones
August 17, 2013 3:06 PM
"...Obama's policies are likely to evolve further." Huh? Bozama is clueless. How is ones "policy" to " evolve" when one doesn't have one unless leading with ones behind is considered "policy."

by: nonation self from: 90405
August 17, 2013 2:48 PM
"there will be wars and rumours of wars" amen? - the war in egypt is between LAW ("legal framework" of egyptian military) and TRUTH (Islam) - the LAW was given because the TRUTH ("you will reap what you sow and sow what you reap") was denied - but the LAW is a LIE at best because "the strength of the law is sin" meaning the very thing that the law seeks to prevent or stop - but all duality is UNITY in REALITY so in REALITY a LIE and the TRUTH are ONE thing as GOD is the INFINITE ETERNAL ONE I AM WHAT I AM AMEN

by: Joe Thomas from: Oregon
August 17, 2013 2:45 PM
He's faced with dwindling choices because he has no idea of how to LEAD!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs