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Local leaders, Egyptians react to developments

Published On: Aug 21 2013 05:00:18 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 21 2013 06:07:25 PM CDT

The world is watching Egypt, and it's wondering what will happen next.

The world is watching Egypt, and it's wondering what will happen next. Wednesday, the European Union strongly condemned the recent violence in Egypt. But the 28-nation bloc is not stopping aid to the country. Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian security forces. Meantime, an Egyptian court has ordered the release of ex-leader Hosni Mubarak. He's been held on various charges since 2011, after he was deposed as leader of Egypt.

So far the Obama Administration has not cut any money flowing into Egypt. The U.S. gives more than $1-billion in military aid to the country every year. Government Officials say they're in the midst of a case by case review of aid programs for Egypt to determine whether any should be suspended in light of the actions of the military-backed government in the country. But some local lawmakers want the cash cut off now.

It's been nearly two months since Egypt's democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power. Since then, deadly clashes between the Muslim political group that supports the ex-leader and Egypt's new military-backed interim government have cost more than a thousand lives.

"I think the short term prospects aren't good, I think the unrest will continue," said Lehigh University Professor, Ziad Munson.

Despite the bloody siege against the Muslim Brotherhood that includes crackdowns on protestors and the imprisonment of organization leaders, Munson says the influential Islamic organization is not in danger of collapse.

"The Muslim Brotherhood has weathered these kinds of crackdowns before in its history," he explained.

In the midst of the turmoil, the White House has not yet decided to cut off about $1-billion in annual US military aid to Egypt.

"The military in Egypt, which now controls the political apparatus, has relied heavily on U.S. support," added Munson. "So withdrawing that support would be very disruptive, not only to them, but also would sort of further contribute to the instability of the situation there."

But not everyone sees it that way. Including Senator Pat Toomey. In a statement he calls the situation in Egypt disturbing, saying the interim army rulers have crossed the line. "We should stop giving foreign aid to Egypt and its military unless the country moves toward an inclusive democratic system. American taxpayers should not contribute to a military that slaughters civilians in the street."

A spokesperson says the Obama Administration is trying to decide if cutting funds would impact national security, whether it complies with the law and if it would help Egypt restore a democratic government.