U.S. opts not to define Egypt ouster as a coup; tensions rise ahead of planned protests

The Obama
administration will not make a formal
determination as to whether the ouster of
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy by the
military was a coup, a senior administration
official told CNN's Jill Dougherty on Thursday.
A coup determination would force the United
States to end military aid to Egypt.
"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," the
official said on condition of anonymity.
The administration sees
continuing aid to Egypt -- more
than $1 billion annually -- to
be "consistent with our law"
and necessary to further U.S.
national security interests, the
source said.
The news, first reported by The
Associated Press, came as
Egypt braced for rival rallies
set for Friday by Morsy's
supporters and those who
backed his ouster by the
military.
Morsy, Egypt's first
democratically elected
president, has not been seen
publicly since he was pushed
from office by the military on
July 3 after mass protests over
his leadership and suspended
the constitution.
Dozens of people have
reportedly been killed and
thousands injured since
Morsy's ouster, some of them
in confrontations with
authorities and others in clashes with those
on the other side of the political spectrum.
Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of
Egypt's military, has called for mass
demonstrations Friday to support the
country's armed forces. He is calling the
protests a "mandate" for the military after
weeks of violence that he has blamed on
Morsy's supporters, primarily the Muslim
Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm,
the Freedom and Justice Party, issued its own
call for protests.
The group has refused to recognize the
ouster, saying Morsy is the legitimate
president.
Al-Sisi warned that any violence "will be
confronted with the resolve and strength" of
the military.
"We call upon various political faction to
avoid any act of provocation," he said in
statement released Thursday.
There has been growing concern about
among world leaders about the increase in
violence since Morsy's ouster.
The country is considered a vital regional ally
for the United States, which signaled its
displeasure with Morsy's ouster on
Wednesday when the Pentagon said it was
delaying the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets.
It's not clear what conditions would be
imposed before the aircraft would be cleared
for shipment. The Pentagon said, however,
that it was not suspending overall arms sales
to Egypt at this time.