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Weapon Manufacturers' Influence on Egypt Policy

Earlier this month, the democratically-elected government of Egypt was overthrown in what virtually everyone (even CNN) labeled a military "coup." But not the Obama administration.

U.S. law requires that aid be cut off if a country's military overthrows a democratically elected government. But President Obama is finding a way around this.

"The law does not require us to make a formal determination ... as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "We have determined we are not going to make a determination."

This means that about $1.5 billion in military aid to Egypt will continue uninterrupted, which must make U.S. weapon manufacturers smile.

U.S. taxpayers will now be giving $1.5 billion to Egypt's military government, who will turn around and spend most of that "aid" to buy military equipment from U.S. weapon makers like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. "In large part, there are U.S. jobs that are reliant on the U.S.-Egypt strong military-to-military relationship," a senior State Department official said in 2012.

By not labeling what happened in Egypt as a coup, U.S. weapon manufacturers will get up to $1.5 billion more of U.S. taxpayer dollars. And more tools of death will be added to an already inflamed situation in the Middle East.

Given Obama's muted response to Egypt's mass killing of protesters (including at least 72 on Saturday), it seems pretty clear that the White House is playing both sides of the fence in Egypt, at least in part to keep U.S. weapon makers happy.