President Barack Obama is probably doing the right thing in delaying a shipment of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, says Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., because the United States' goal is to get the military to begin transitioning back to a civilian government.
Still, the United States must get aid moving because the Middle East faces a "trifecta from hell" in Syria, Iran, and Egypt, he said.
Graham, appearing Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record," said aid will end up flowing, "but we're going to put conditions on it. We're going to pass the bill tomorrow."
There is debate in Washington over whether it is against U.S. law to continue aid since the Egyptian military seized power from democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi earlier this month and installed an interim government.
The United States cannot legally give aid to a country where an elected government is toppled by a military coup, so some have taken pains to avoid using the word "coup," while others say it clearly fits the definition.
The problem for Washington is that Morsi was quickly moving the country toward Islamic law, while the military's goal seems to be facilitating free elections – not the typical military coup.
Graham is among the group saying the actions were a coup, but he believes a workaround is possible to avoid aiding an ally. Egypt won't get any money until it starts down the road of holding new elections, he said.
And that is vital because, "The trifecta from hell is unfolding in front of us," he said. "Iran is about to get a nuclear weapon. Syria's about to infect the entire region, taking the king of Jordan down. And Egypt could become a failed state.
"We live in tough times," Graham said. "It's easy to beat on Obama, but I think he may be right about withholding the sales."
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