Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Egyptian Army’s Firepower Overwhelmingly US-Supplied

Military coup and the violent repression of demonstrations notwithstanding, the Egyptian army continues to receive arms and assistance from the United States.

Print Friendly

Inter Press Service

When the dust settles from the ongoing deadly confrontations between the Egyptian armed forces and thousands of Islamist protesters in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, the eventual winner will be the United States – specifically U.S.-made weapons systems in the hands of the country’s 440,000-strong military.

At last count, over 50 demonstrators were killed and more than 400 wounded in a recent military attack against Muslim Brotherhood protesters as the political crisis in Egypt spun out of control.

With massive firepower at its command, the Egyptian security forces are armed with a wide range of mostly U.S-supplied weapons, ranging from fighter planes, combat helicopters, warships and missiles to riot-controlled equipment such as armoured personnel carriers, recoilless rifles, sub-machine guns, rubber bullets, handguns and tear gas grenades.

Virtually all of these weapons have been provided under non-repayable, outright U.S. military grants ever since Egypt signed the U.S.-brokered Camp David Peace Treaty with Israel back in September 1978.

As the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, Egypt receives about 1.5 billion dollars in both military and economic aid annually, of which 1.3 billion dollars is earmarked for the armed forces.

Nicole Auger, a military analyst covering the Middle East and Africa at Forecast International, a leader in defence market intelligence and industry forecasting, told IPS the United States is “the overwhelming (arms) supplier to Egypt”.

She said about 35 percent of the 1.3 billion dollars in annual U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants is utilised each year for the purchase of new U.S. weapons systems.

Of the balance, about 30 percent is earmarked for the purchase and maintenance of U.S. equipment (including the procurement of ammunition for that equipment), with 20 percent covering the ongoing costs of programmes being implemented, and 15 percent being used to supplement and upgrade equipment currently in service.

Egypt is also eligible to receive surplus U.S. equipment under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme, mostly on a cost-free basis, she pointed out.

Additionally, Egypt receives grants under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, amounting to about 1.3 million to about 1.9 million dollars annually, plus about 250 million dollars annually in economic aid.

According to figures released by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Egypt received about 11.8 billion dollars worth of weapons from the United States during 2004-2011, followed by 900 million dollars each in arms from China and Russia, and 700 million dollars in arms from Europe.

Although for all intents and purposes, the upheaval in Egypt has been described as a military coup, the administration of President Barack Obama has shied away from that categorisation, arguing the military takeover was triggered by civilian demands.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Khaled M. Abou El Fadl, a law professor at the University of California, wrote: “By stepping in to remove an unpopular president, the Egyptian army re-affirmed a despotic tradition in the Middle East: army officers decide what the country needs, and they always know best.”

Under current U.S. legislation, it is mandatory for the United States to cut off aid to any country where the military takes power and ousts a democratically elected government – as happened in previous years in Fiji, Cote d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic, among others.

After country-wide elections, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was sworn in as the country’s first democratically-elected president in June 2012.

But so far, the White House has refused to cut off aid to Egypt, hoping to use it as leverage to restore civilian rule.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday, “We are going to examine this and monitor this, and take the time necessary in making the determination in a manner that’s consistent with our policy objectives and our national security interests.

“But we do not believe that it is in our interests to make a precipitous decision or determination to change our assistance programme right away,” he said.

Still, there are several U.S. legislators, including Senators John McCain (Republican of Arizona), Patrick Leahy (Democrat of Vermont), and Carl Levin (Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the Armed Services Committee) who have called for a suspension of U.S. aid to Egypt until the restoration of democracy.

Prior to the Camp David peace treaty, Egypt was a long-time recipient of Soviet weaponry under a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Moscow. The Aswan Dam, a major economic showpiece, was built with financial assistance from the then Soviet Union.

But with the Camp David accords, Egypt switched its political and military loyalties from the Soviet Union to the United States.

Still, Egypt remains in the process of steadily weaning itself off former Soviet legacy hardware; prior to 1978, the Egyptian Army was largely equipped with Soviet weaponry.

Thalif Deen is a contributor to Inter Press Service.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

The Foreign Policy Initiative, founded in 2009 by a host of neoconservative figures, was a leading advocate for a militaristic and Israel-centric U.S. foreign policies.


Billionaire investor Paul Singer is the founder and CEO of the Elliott Management Corporation and an important funder of neoconservative causes.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.


Ron Dermer is the Israeli ambassador to the United States and a close confidante of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince is notorious for his efforts to expand the use of private military contractors in conflict zones.


U.S. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a retired U.S Marine Corps general and combat veteran who served as commander of U.S. Central Command during 2010-2013 before being removed by the Obama administration reportedly because of differences over Iran policy.


Mark Dubowitz, an oft-quoted Iran hawk, is the executive director of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

The time has come for a new set of partnerships to be contemplated between the United States and Middle East states – including Iran – and between regimes and their peoples, based on a bold and inclusive social contract.


Print Friendly

Erik Prince is back. He’s not only pitching colonial capitalism in DC. He’s huckstering ex-SF-led armies of sepoys to wrest Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and perhaps, if he is ever able to influence likeminded hawks in the Trump administration, even Iran back from the infidels.


Print Friendly

Encouraged by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement late last month that Washington favors “peaceful” regime change in Iran, neoconservatives appear to be trying to influence the internal debate by arguing that this is Trump’s opportunity to be Ronald Reagan.


Print Friendly

When asked about “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in world affairs,” 22 percent of those surveyed as part of a recent Pew Research Center global poll expressed confidence in Donald Trump and 74 percent expressed no confidence.


Print Friendly

A much-awaited new State Department volume covering the period 1951 to 1954 does not reveal much new about the actual overthrow of Mohammad Mossadeq but it does provide a vast amount of information on US involvement in Iran.


Print Friendly

As debate continues around the Trump administration’s arms sales and defense spending, am new book suggests several ways to improve security and reduce corruption, for instance by increasing transparency on defense strategies, including “how expenditures on systems and programs align with the threats to national security.”


Print Friendly

Lobelog We walked in a single file. Not because it was tactically sound. It wasn’t — at least according to standard infantry doctrine. Patrolling southern Afghanistan in column formation limited maneuverability, made it difficult to mass fire, and exposed us to enfilading machine-gun bursts. Still, in 2011, in the Pashmul District of Kandahar Province, single…


RightWeb
share