U.S. Aid to Egypt: A Tricky Triangle with Israel

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Protesters in Cairo march in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who won Egypt’s first free and fair elections in June 2012, but was overthrown by the military a year later.
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This week, the Obama Administration announced that the U.S. would freeze some of its aid to Egypt, withholding several Apache helicopters, tank parts, Harpoon missiles, war planes and about $260 million in government aid. 

U.S. leaders have still refrained from using the word "coup" to describe the military's takeover of the Egyptian government, which happened in July—it's a designation that would automatically prohibit American aid to Egypt.

But the Administration's decision to freeze some assets is meant as a slap on the wrist for the Egyptian leadership. The country has depended on American aid for 35 years, ever since Egypt signed the Camp David Peace Accords with Israel and the U.S. in September 1978. 

Israel signaled displeasure with Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement, as the country's Minister of International and Strategic Affairs, Yucal Steinmitz, told Takeaway partner The New York Times:

"It's very important that Egypt will stabilize, economically and politically. It’s very important for the world, for the Middle East, and for us, and first and foremost for the Egyptians."

Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel Daniel Kurtzer examines how U.S. suspension of aid to Egypt will affect the country's relationship with Israel and the U.S. Kurtzer, a professor of Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University, discusses the particular importance of the Sinai Peninsula, an increasingly unstable region technically under the Egyptian government's control.