"If I'm an Egyptian general, I take notice and think President Obama is trying to take the least painful step to demonstrate to various constituencies in the US that he means what he says about democracy in Egypt," said Amy Hawthorne, who until recently was an Egypt policy official at the State Department.The Egyptian generals do not care what Obama says. Nor are they interested in what impact he is supposed to be making on the US domestic audience who, in turn, mostly often not care about Egypt anyway nor understand what is at stake other than some vague sentiments about 'democracy' prevailing.
The reality is that SCAF has been able to get away with the execution of the coup and its follow up operations to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood protesters from the streets of Cairo because it knows the US depends on it for 'counter terrorism' and the security of Sinai Peninsula which abuts Israel and Saudi Arabia
With the July 3 coup an a fait accompli already , the US is simply not going to 'suspend' aid because it is already pledged to deliver it until the end of 2013. Furthermore, Washington is hedging its bets as if the killings stimulate a resurgence in Islamist terrorism it will need the army to protect its interests.
Those interests are the protecting of the border with Israel agreed in 1978-9, preventing the sabotage of oil and gas pipelines West and to Israel and the Suez Canal. But they also include preventing Egypt from becoming a base for Al Qaida terrorism that could spread into the oil producing Gulf states.
Yemen, to the south of Saudi Arabia, is already menaced by Al Qaida and its operatives targeted there with the nation becoming a testing ground for killer drones. As many missiles have ended up killing civilians, even pro-US figures in Yemen are claiming the strikes are acting only to swell Al Qaida's ranks.
As with other Arab nations affected by the 'Arab Spring' of 2011, Yemen is another potential flashpoint where a failing state presides over a strategically vital oil and gas transit nation with a burgeoning youthful population that has run up against environmental limits and has a food crisis reaching catastrophic proportions
Yemen is a minor oil exporter but occupies the one of the world's seven most important oil 'chokepoints' that are vital to the flow of oil to Western nations overdependent upon it to fuel their consumerism. Al Qaida propaganda has always exploited the line that 'their decadent prosperity mean your poverty'.
Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean. It is located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
An estimated 3.2 million bbl/d flowed through this waterway in 2009 (vs. 4 million bbl/d in 2008) toward Europe, the United States, and Asia. The majority of traffic, about 1.8 million bbl/d, moved northbound through the Bab el-Mandab en route to the Suez/SUMED complex.The concentrated Al Qaida threat to Yemen thus focuses on throttling oil supplies to the West. Somalian pirates also menace the area. But the heavy overdependence upon oil from the Saudi peninsula and Gulf Region, as well as Al Qaida threats, means plans to establish US military bases in Yemen. will lead to conflict.
The geopolitical significance of Yemen is an extension of a prime concern that dovetails with the continued support the Egyptian army-the security of the sea route for the US navy between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea through the Gulf of Aden and thenceforth to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
Ultimately, Egypt's stability remains a cornerstone of the entire framework for the balance of power set up by the US to guard Western oil interests during the 1970s from the strategic military partnership with Saudi Arabia against its Gulf rival Iran to the backing for Pakistan as bulwark against Iran to the east.