Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi flee the scene of a protest on Sunday. The US government announced cuts in aid to Egypt's military today. (Image Source: Reuters)
While the government shutdown entered its 9th day, the federal government managed to cut spending in one aspect: Foreign aid. Today, the White House announced that it would cut a significant portion of funding to Egyptian government, specifically aid to the country's military. The cause of the drop in funding? The continued violence between the Egyptian military and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohammed Morsi, among other things. However, it is not an end to their aid, despite earlier reports.
State Department officials announced the cuts, but did not specify the numbers on how much money is being cut. Currently, Egypt receives approximately $1.5 billion every year, in part due to abiding by the Camp David Accords of the late 1970s, which created a peace deal between Egypt and Israel. Given that these peace deals are a source of much hatred by Egyptians, both secular and religious, enough to kill Egyptian signer (and leader) Anwar Sadat in 1981, it is hard to say whether people will ever miss the aid that much.
However, unlike early reports, aid was not suspended by the White House. Some parts of Washington believe that cutting aid to Egypt would be in America's best interest, simply to stay out of the long-running aftermath of the Arab Spring or because Egypt is simply not trustworthy. Others suggest sticking with the "lesser" evil of the Egyptian military, who supposedly were overthrown in the Arab Spring with the fall of long-time President Hosni Mubarak.
Meanwhile, violence continues in Egypt: On Monday, Morsi supporters conducted a drive-by shooting killing six soldiers, blew up a car bomb killing three police officers, and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at Egypt's primary communication towers. The day before, the Egyptian military killed 53 protesters, almost summary execution style, in another protest in Cairo. Furthermore, while Israeli observers remain nervous about the cut in Egypt's aid, their aid remains the same, at more than $3.1 billion.