The presidents failure to suspend aid to the Egyptian military is a strategic error that undercuts those objectives and weakens U.S. credibility, after repeated calls by the U.S. administration for Egyptian authorities to avoid bloodshed have been disregarded, said a statement from the Egypt Working Group, a collective of influential think tank scholars who advise policymakers on bilateral relations.
Mahmoud Karem, a former Egyptian diplomat who has served as ambassador to the European Union, Tokyo and other posts, said cutting aid would confirm Egyptians suspicions that the United States was siding with the Islamists, who are routinely portrayed as terrorists in Egyptian media. Karem said recent killings shouldnt overshadow the war on terrorism that the Egyptian military is waging in the lawless Sinai, an extremist haven thats awash with weapons smuggled in from Libya.
Egyptians feel sold out, Karem said.
On Monday, two dozen soldiers were executed in a border town after attackers ambushed their convoy. The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that fueled Morsis candidacy, condemned the slayings, and an extremist group thats claimed previous attacks denied responsibility.
Few would dispute Morsis missteps expanding his own presidential powers, refusing to include his opponents in a unity government but analysts argue that the militarys ouster and subsequent brutal crackdown on Islamists cannot go unheeded if Obama is serious about seeing a democracy take root in Egypt.
With Egypts reliance on American counterparts for training, maintenance and logistics, U.S. analysts say, not even Saudi Arabias offer to cover any Western aid cuts would help much. The Egyptians could be left with a lot of sophisticated equipment, but without the capacity to use it.
If the United States disengages from Egypt, the Egyptian military is, for all intents and purposes, inoperable, said Robert Springborg, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.