The Egyptian military's overthrow of elected president Mohammed Morsi left President Barack Obama grappling with a difficult question of diplomacy and language in dealing with the Arab world's most populous nation: was it a coup?
At stake as Obama and his aides wrestle with that question in the coming days is the $1.5 billion in aid the United States sends to Cairo each year — almost all of it for the military — as well as the president's views on how best to promote Arab democracy.
If the United States formally declares Morsi's ouster a coup, U.S. law mandates that most aid for its longtime ally must stop. And that could weaken the Egyptian military, one of the country's most stable institutions with long-standing ties to U.S. authorities.
Further complicating Obama's calculus is the fact that millions of Egyptians rallied in favor of Mursi's departure, and that the military announced a roadmap for return to civilian rule that was blessed by Egypt's Muslim and Christian religious leaders.
But Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood retain backing from a broad swath of Egyptian society, even as he alienated many of his countrymen.
Note EU-Digest: US is not calling the military overthrow of the elected government of Egypt a coup mainly because they were unhappy with Morsi and his swing away from secularism. Its the US Middle East "Islam Light" policy first major casualty.
Read more: Why the U.S. doesn't call Egypt military's ouster of Morsi a coup - World - CBC News