Report: U.S. quietly freezes military aid to Egypt
According to The Daily Beast, Senator Patrick Leahy says the White House has temporarily suspended aid to Egypt, but officially maintains that no military coup has taken place; top Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader arrested.
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy told The Daily Beast on Monday that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off. Spokesman for the senator, who heads the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee was quoted in the report as saying that it is the senator's understanding that "aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law.”
According to the report by The Beast's senior national security correspondent Josh Rogin, "the Obama administration has decided to temporarily suspend the disbursement of most direct military aid, the delivery of weapons to the Egyptian military, and some forms of economic aid to the Egyptian government while it conducts a broad review of the relationship."
While the U.S. officially maintains that no military coup has taken place in Egypt, according to the Daily Beast, two administration officials said they are observing law that allows for temporarily restricting military aid as if there had been a coup designation, but without being forced to make a public statement to that effect.
Officially, the $585 million of promised aid to the Egyptian military in 2013 is not on hold, as technically it is not due until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, the Daily Beast reported.
Also on Monday, Egyptian security officials and state television said the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was detained. Officials say Mohammed Badie was captured early Tuesday in an apartment in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City. That's where supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi held a six-week sit-in protest that was cleared by security forces last Wednesday. Morsi is a longtime leader of the Brotherhood.
Badie and his powerful deputy Khairat el-Shater, who is in custody, go on trial later this month for their alleged role in the killing of eight protesters outside the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters in June. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The U.S. State Department voiced deep concern on Monday about the deaths of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners while in custody in Egypt, terming them "suspicious," and made clear that it does not believe the Islamist group should be banned.
Almost 900 people, including nearly 100 soldiers and police, have died in Egypt since the authorities began to forcibly break up Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins last Wednesday by supporters of Morsi, who was toppled in a July 3 military coup.