It’s the same explanation that I gave in my post-Morsi article, Barack’s Plan B for the Brotherhood. Obama wants to use foreign aid as a lever and to do that, he can’t call it a coup. He just has to begin squeezing Egypt with selective holds.
After a lot of back and forths, Jen Psaki, Team Obama spokesman for State, gets around to admitting it.
MS. PSAKI: If not, you can ask another question. Six hundred and fifty million – there’s been some confusion, I’m not necessarily saying from this room, on what it means. I made the important point, or what I think is an important point, that at no point are funds transferred to Egyptian control. They’re transferred to an Egypt account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That would be – the next step would be to transfer the remaining unobligated $585 million to that account.
QUESTION: So Jen, just to be super precise —
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: — the President, without saying it is or it is not a coup, could put aid to Egypt on hold based on this policy review?
MS. PSAKI: Well, the President has always had a range of options from the beginning. The best way I can explain it is there is a legal review and there’s a policy review – legal, it’s abiding by our legal obligations. And as I mentioned – and sorry to go back through this, but I think it’s important here – there are certain programs – in ESF, there are some programs in there as an example that we’d have to – we have to – we might have to adjust, depending. But that review is ongoing. But the President can certainly make decisions regarding – related to our relationship with Egypt and funding that we provide, absolutely.
QUESTION: Okay. Because this is kind of a big – now a very important moment here where you’re saying he can avoid making any decision on a coup but he could still stop the aid in one form or another. I mean, it might not be all, whatever.ns, absolutely.
You can see why Obama won’t make a coup declaration. This is his kind of tactic. Maintain total control, avoid being bound by any regulatory framework.