Vivid images of young teenagers dying at the hands of their fellow Egyptians should be a stark reminder to the world that Egypt remains a divided nation. The instability will only continue unless the United States fails to restrict military aid to the country.
Violence in Egypt has reached a disturbing level since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Now, graphic videos depict pro-Morsi supporters tossing teenage opponents off of the rooftop of a water tower — two teens of which have died as a result. One of the boys was identified as 19- year-old Hamada Badr, who after being flung off the roof, was repeatedly beaten on the head as he lay unconscious. What's more, in the video, a man can be seen carrying a black and white Al-Qaeda flag.
In contrast, on July 9, the Egyptian army also contributed to the violence, firing on pro-Morsi supporters during an early morning sit-in which left a total of 54 dead. Instead of achieving a unified position among Egyptians, the intensifying hostilities have created increased instability, and substantial divisions about who should be running the country.
Meanwhile, the United States is considering the legality of its annual release of $1.5 billion in military aid to Egypt, and the Obama administration continues struggling to find ways to not define the actions of the Egyptian military as a “coup.” Under federal law, the Foreign Assistance Act states that the United States will “[restrict] assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.” Current plans to deliver F-16 fighter jets made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin to the Egyptian military by August remain unchanged. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney commented, “it's [the administration’s] view that we should not … hastily change our aid programs.”
The Obama administration has failed to designate the events in Egypt as a military coup, while the Egyptian military has attempted to claim that their actions were “democratic,” and called upon by the people of Egypt. But this was a military coup; military leaders forcefully removed former President Morsi from his office. It seems the U.S. wants to maintain its relationship with the military, which is currently the strongest institution remaining in Egypt, but to do so would be a huge mistake. Continuing our aid to Egyptian military forces will only further escalate violence.
The Obama administration must recognize that what occurred in Egypt was a military coup, and must halt the planned aid being given. Further, it should only consider restoring the aid Only once the violence has subsided, and once democratically elected officials have are restored to power can the U.S. consider once again providing Egypt with military aid. The vivid images of young teenagers dying at the hands of their fellow Egyptians should be a stark reminder to the world that Egypt remains a divided nation.