US claims neutrality on Egypt but funds the military

People carry anti-Obama posters as thousands of Egyptian protesters celebrate in Tahrir Square as the deadline given by the military to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi passes 3 July 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anti-Morsi protesters are not too pleased with Mr Obama either

What appears to be a military coup in Egypt puts the Obama administration in an awkward position.

The state department is clear that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has not done enough to meet the concerns of his people, and that democracy is not just about being elected but about responding to their voices.

They say he did not do this in last night's speech.

This is largely echoing President Barack Obama's phone call to President Morsi at the beginning of the week.

The state department spokesperson repeated time and again that the US was not backing one side or the other.

But they are funding one side - there are plans to give the military aid worth $1.3bn (£852m) next year, and many senior Egyptian officers are trained in the US. Clearly there are lots of contacts, and the US has a lot of clout.

President Obama's administration never wants to be seen as hectoring or picking rulers in the Arab world. But the dilemma is an old one - a choice between a democratically elected leader who has ideas they don't like, or the military who are not elected but may be more pro-Western.

While the US claims it is not making choices, it could pull the plug on funding if it really didn't like what was happening.