Almost half a billion dollars in 2013 military aid to Egypt has been quietly suspended pending the outcome of the current unrest in the country, staff with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee responsible for foreign aid, told The Daily Beast news service on Monday.
The money — $585 million in unobligated funds for 2013 — is on hold while the Obama administration sorts through the fallout after the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, a spokesman for Leahy told news service.
Leahy’s “understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” spokesman David Carle told The Daily Beast.
The administration has not called the removal of Morsi a “coup,” which triggers the immediate suspension of most aid.
As part of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, “any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état,” cannot receive aid that’s not part of the promotion of democracy.
CNN reported the halt in funding was a “reprograming,” and might not be a permanent withdrawal. The funds aren’t scheduled to be obligated until Sept. 30.
Out of the $1.6 billion in yearly aid to Egypt, $1.3 billion is in the form of Foreign Military Financing.
Tied up in the deal are 500 General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, 20 F-16 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Falcons and four VT-Halter Marine fast missile craft for the Egyptian Navy. Two of the four FMCs were scheduled to be delivered this year, along with an order of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters which have been paid for but not delivered.
On Monday, Secreatry of Defense Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon, “was reviewing all aspects of our relationship” with Egypt.