Some say that Egypt's military rulers may be willing to forgo $1.3 billion in aid if it means a boost in popularity.
As the diplomatic crisis escalates, the looming threat is that the US will cut off its $1.3 billion per year in military assistance to Egypt, which has flowed every year since 1987 as unofficial compensation for Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
Yet despite the warnings, Egypt has refused to back down, instead escalating the crisis at every turn. It's unclear whether Egypt sees the US threats as serious. But some say that the military rulers may see the domestic gains to be made in establishing Egypt's independence from the US, which supported former President Hosni Mubarak for decades, as outweighing the benefits of the aid.
“They're trying to provoke [the severing of US aid]," says Robert Springborg, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. "Because they're desperate and they want to present themselves as popular defenders of the nation. So what better way to do it?”
Furthermore, he argues, “It wouldn't mean a thing” to Egypt’s military were the aid to stop. “A great bulk of that has gone into the procurement of weapons systems that have not been used, are not likely to be used, and that [Egyptian forces] haven't been properly trained on.”
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