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Egypt

(We put a new top on this post at 11:50 a.m. ET and added a new development being reported by the AP at 2 p.m. ET.)

The Obama administration is still reviewing U.S. assistance to Egypt and it's incorrect to say that such aid has been "secretly" put on hold, the White House said Tuesday.

This post was updated 1:00 a.m. ET Monday

The Egyptian government says at least 36 people were killed Sunday — Islamists who had been in custody of security forces, according to a report in The New York Times.

World Views: August 16, 2013

Aug 16, 2013

On Thursday President Obama canceled joint military exercises with Egypt. Samer Shehata, a University of Oklahoma professor of Middle East Studies and an expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, says while the move was the least President Obama could do, it was still necessary. 

Foreign aid to post-conflict countries usually focuses on rebuilding physical infrastructure. Peter Weinberger says in countries where there are deep divisions between religious, ethnic, or tribal groups, social reconstruction is more important, and can be much more difficult to achieve, than physical reconstruction.

Amanda Lucidon / The White House

On Thursday President Obama canceled joint military exercises with Egypt – saying U.S. cooperation with that country can't "continue as usual" amid the violence that claimed more than 600 lives since Wednesday. 

Samer Shehata, a University of Oklahoma professor of Middle East Studies and an expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, says while the move was the least President Obama could do, it was still necessary.

“It isn't terribly costly for the United States or for the Egyptian military,” Shehata says. “I think the larger questions, the more important questions, are will U.S. military assistance to Egypt, which is on the tune of $1.3 billion annually, will that be suspended or ended?”

"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government" that have led to civilians "being killed in the streets," President Obama said Thursday from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he is vacationing with his family.

He called on Egypt's interim government to lift the state of emergency it has declared and said the U.S. has canceled joint military exercises with Egypt that had been scheduled for September.

"Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual while civilians are being killed in the streets," Obama said.

Egypt is ramping up threats of a wider crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who have refused to end a sit-in a day after at least 80 anti-government protesters were killed in two cities in street clashes with security forces.

What Should The U.S. Be Doing In Egypt?

Jul 11, 2013

Egypt's crisis has ignited a familiar debate over U.S. foreign policy where the combatants cluster around two basic viewpoints: The U.S. is doing too little, and the U.S. is doing too much.

So which is it? Is America shrewdly orchestrating events behind the scenes, or is it just an impotent bystander in the Egyptian drama? It depends on whom you ask.

Two days after Egypt's military removed President Mohammed Morsi and replaced him with the country's Supreme Constitutional Court Chief Justice, Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis talk with incoming University of Oklahoma Middle East scholar and Muslim Brotherhood expert Samer Shehata about what's next for the country.

On Tuesday, militants detonated a suicide car bomb at the gate of a NATO compound in Kabul killing five guards and two civilians. Dana Mohammad-Zadeh says knowing attacks like these will happen is part of life in Afghanistan’s capital city. She earned a degree in Economics and International Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2012, and now works in the development sector in Kabul.

Gigi Ibrahim / Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this week a top judge replaced Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi as Egypt’s president as the army cracks down on the Muslim Brotherhood.

In his final days in power, Egypt's embattled president was defiant even though his allies abandoned him.

Record numbers of protesters gathered in Alexandria and Cairo on June 30 calling for Morsi’s removal, resignation, or early presidential elections. Incoming University of Oklahoma Middle East scholar and Muslim Brotherhood expert Samer Shehata says the millions of protesters exceeded his expectations of the June 30 movement.

On Tuesday the U.N. General Assembly approved a treaty to regulate the global arms trade, and the panel explores what role the CIA is playing in Arab and Turkish military aid to Syria.

Ambassador Cynthia Schneider joins Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis to discuss how culture influenced her diplomacy while representing the United States in the Netherlands between 1998 and 2001.

Focus Features / NBCUniversal

While serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands in 2001, Cynthia Schneider used Hollywood to approach sensitive drug issues between American and Dutch officials.

Schneider invited embassy staffers focusing on drugs, and their counterparts in the Dutch Ministry of Justice, to a screening of Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning film Traffic.

“It's a very powerful film that shows the intricacies of drug trafficking, and really shows how complicated it is,” Schneider says. “That was a fantastic experience because it kind of leveled the playing ground, and after seeing that film together we were able to have the most honest, direct conversation that we ever had, and really make progress.”

Provided / ahmed-ahmed.com

Audiences most likely know Egyptian-American stand-up comedian Ahmed Ahmed as a member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.

“Comedians have become, most recently, cultural ambassadors of the world,” Ahmed said. “Whether you're in Africa, or America, or Russia, or Asia, laughter is the common language of the world.”

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