In June of 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood took control of Egypt. Due to their history of being an extremist Islamic group that supports terrorism, the US Congress put a stop to some of the foreign aid money that had been committed to Egypt. President Obama, acting like the dictator he is, decided to ignore Congress and the will of the people and he ordered the funds to be released. Congress had also put a hold on the sale of military aid including the sale of fighter jets, but Obama overrode Congress again and sent the war planes and other military aid to Egypt.
President Obama stood in support of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood even when they were slaughtering Christians in their homes, streets and even churches. Obama and Egyptian President Morsi were the best of friends, at least in Obama’s mind, and Obama turned his back on his own nation to embrace his Muslim brothers in Egypt.
Last week, anti-Morsi protests spread across the country. The human rights violations and Islamic extremism was so great that the Egyptian military gave Morsi an ultimatum to make changes or they would remove him from power. Morsi stood his ground and refused to meet any of the demands and the military kept their promise and removed him from office. Not only did they remove Morsi, but they rounded up other national leaders that were part of the Muslim Brotherhood and shut down the radio and television stations run by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian military said it was not a coup, but in reality, they forcibly removed a democratically elected president, which amounts to the same thing. This is important not only for the nation of Egypt, but it also forces the US to stop all foreign aid to them at this time. At stake is $1.3 billion for 2014, which is about 20% of the Egyptian militaries total budget.
In 1949, President Harry Truman signed the first Foreign Assistance Act. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an updated version of the Foreign Assistance Act and once again updated and again revised by the 105th Congress in 1998. Section 508 of the Foreign Assistance Act spells out the terms of foreign aid to any country that experienced a military coup. It reads:
“None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree: Provided, [t]hat assistance may be resumed to such country if the President determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office.”
In 2011, a provision in the omnibus bill further revised Section 508 by adding that foreign aid will be stopped to any nation experiencing a:
“coup d’etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.”
Section 508 of the Foreign Assistance Act, along with its most current revision, clearly covers the military takeover of Egypt and the ousting of Morsi who was elected in a democratic election. It also spells out that the if the President determines and reports to the Committee on Appropriation that a democratically elected government has been re-established after foreign aid was terminated, that it could once again resume.
Obama refuses to define what happened in Egypt as a military coup and is already asking a review of the law to determine if aid is to be continued. In a statement released last week, he stated:
“Given today’s developments, I have directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.”
What I find to be the opposite of what I expected, some key Republicans are favoring continuing aid to Egypt’s military rule while Democrats are standing behind the law, claiming that all aid should be cut off.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), commented, saying:
“In determining the future of U.S. assistance, the administration should look at the regional picture with our national security interests in mind. Our long-standing cooperation with Egypt, which is essential for stability in the region, should remain a priority.”
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) sided with Egypt’s military rule saying:
“The Egyptian military has long been a key partner of the United States and a stabilizing force in the region, and is perhaps the only trusted national institution in Egypt today.”
On the flip side of the issue, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chairman of the Budget Committee that oversees foreign aid said:
“Our law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree.”
Even if it is determined that this was not a military coup, it was carried out by military decree which is covered under Sect 508 of the Foreign Assistance Act and therefore all aid should be cut off. If Obama tried to use his power and office to issue a waiver of some sorts to keep aid flowing to Egypt, he will once again be violating federal law. According to John Bellinger, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Section 508 is not subject to presidential waiver, but I can see him trying to do so anyway and Attorney General Eric Holder will of course back him up.
The next few weeks may play out like a chess match, with each side trying to out strategize the other. Pawns will be put in play and knights will charge here and there. I’m sure some bishops will weigh in on the situation, but when all is said and done, it will come down to the two opposing kings – Obama v Congress.