Singh noted that the military assistance, along with training and officer exchanges, has afforded the U.S. a critical relationship with the Egyptian military.
“I think U.S. policymakers will be even more loath to put that on the table or give that up, given that the military’s proven so pivotal in these transitions,” Singh said.
Edward Djerejian, founding director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel, said he believed it would be difficult to categorize the ouster as a “classic” military coup.
He noted that the country’s defense minister, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, announced the plans surrounded by other Egyptians, including the head of the Coptic Church, Salafists and Islamists.
“What the Egyptian military is portraying now is that it was responding to the will of the people,” Djerejian said. “It is not a military coup that’s generated by the military alone, they’re responding to the will of the people who voted with their feet in the millions, and what they’re proposing is an inclusive government that represents the various factions.”
But the aid may be one of few U.S. options to influence events in the Middle East.
“Washington loves to think it’s central to everything and, really, it’s not,” said Shibley Telhami, a Middle East analyst for the Brookings Institution and a University of Maryland professor. “It’s not a failure or a success. This is about Egypt finding its way. It’s not about Washington.”
Ali Watkins of the Washington Bureau contributed.