The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

October 9, 2013

US expected to slash aid to Egyptian government

(Continued)

The planned cutoff of U.S. aid also underscored the strategic shifts under way in the region as U.S. allies in the Gulf forge ahead with policies at odds with Washington. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are strong backers of Syrian rebel factions and were openly dismayed when the U.S. set aside possible military strikes against Bashar Assad's government. The Gulf states also feel increasingly sidelined as Washington reaches out to their rival, Iran.

Iran had moved quickly to heal long-strained ties with Egypt following Morsi's election, but now has to redirect its policies with Egyptian leaders who don't share Tehran's agenda.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian court on Wednesday announced that Morsi will go on trial on Nov. 4 on charges of incitement to the killing of opponents while he was in office. Morsi was removed in a popularly-backed coup on July 3 and has been held incommunicado at an unknown location and has not been seen since, though he has spoken to his family twice and was visited by EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and an African Union delegation.

According to Wednesday's court decision, the 62-year old Morsi will be tried before a criminal court for allegedly inciting his supporters to kill at least 10 people, use violence and unlawfully detain and torture anti-Morsi protesters.

Officials told The Associated Press in September that the recommendation involving U.S. aid to Egypt called for a significant amount to be withheld. Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations. The money could be restored once a democratically elected government is returned.

While the exact amount to be suspended was up to the president, the principals recommended it include all foreign military financing to Egypt's army except for money that supports security in the increasingly volatile Sinai Peninsula and along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, U.S. officials said. Counterterrorism funding may also continue.

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