Updated, 4:50 p.m. EDT: The AP reported on an update from the State Department Wednesday, revealing that there would be a significant cut in U.S. funding to the Egyptian army:
Headlines (notably on CNN) in the past 24 hours gave the impression that the U.S. had decided to suspend funding to the Egyptian army-backed government. The Egyptian army is accustomed to a yearly $1.5 billion package from the U.S. Following a long, volatile summer of army-perpetrated massacres against Islamists, and ongoing sectarian fighting (not to mention the brutal treatment of journalists both foreign and local) the U.S. has said is reconsidering the state of its aid relationship. Egypt will certainly remain a recipient, however.
A White House statement noted:
“The reports that we are halting all military assistance to Egypt are false. We will announce the future of our assistance relationship with Egypt in the coming days, but as the President made clear at UNGA (United Nations General Assembly), that assistance relationship will continue.”
Commenting on the specifics of the White House statement’s language, the Christian Science Monitor’s Dan Murphy noted:
One can focus on language – the difference between “cut off” and “suspend” in CNN’s telling versus the administration’s statement that “reports that we are halting all military assistance to Egypt are false.” Perhaps this means that some small amount of funding for Egyptian officers to come and train with the US military here will be maintained, but big-ticket transfers will be cut off.
Or perhaps CNN just got a story badly wrong. We don’t know yet, and the problem with this kind of anonymously sourced story to one lone “official” is that follow-up is difficult.