A F-16 fighter jet belonging to the U.S. Air Force comes in for a landing at a U.S. air force base in Osan, south of Seoul April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
(Reuters) – The United States still plans to go through with the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the coming weeks, U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Wednesday, even after the Egyptian military’s ouster of President Mohamed Mursi.
The disclosure came as Washington treads a careful line, neither welcoming Mursi’s removal nor denouncing it as a “coup,” saying it needs time to weigh the situation.
A U.S. decision to brand his overthrow a coup would, by U.S. law, require Washington to halt aid to the Egyptian military, which receives the lion’s share of the $1.5 billion in annual U.S. assistance to that country.
America certainly has popularity problems – despite spending billions of dollars – among the nations in the Middle East and north Africa, but it took Wednesday’s uprising in Egypt, in which a Muslim Brotherhood-linked president apparently was taken down, to reveal the full extent of dislike of America’s president, Barack Obama.
“Wake Up America Obama backs Up a Fascist Regime in Egypt,” declared one banner.
(Reuters) – Egypt’s army commander and Islamist President Mohamed Mursi each pledged to die for his cause as a deadline neared on Wednesday that will trigger a military takeover backed by protesters.
Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by demonstrations over Mursi’s Islamist policies, issued a call to battle in a statement headlined “The Final Hours”. They said they were willing to shed blood against “terrorists and fools” after Mursi refused to give up his elected office.
The armed forces general command was holding a crisis meeting, a military source said, less than five hours before an ultimatum was due to expire for Mursi to either agree to share power or make way for an army-imposed solution.
In an emotional, rambling midnight television address, the president said he was democratically elected and would stay in office to uphold the constitutional order, declaring: “The price of preserving legitimacy is my life.”
Liberal opponents said it showed he had “lost his mind”.