Last month the administration suspended $260mil in military aid and F16 deliveries. This week the Egyptians are looking at a $1.7bil buy of Russian Mig 29 planes.
When Anwar Sadat recovered Egyptian military honor in the ’73 war he had the strength and freedom to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel. Part of the bargain was an American promise to become Egypt’s military equipment and defense partner. Anwar Sadat kicked out thousands of Soviet advisors. Russia lost a client state in the region and pressure point to distract US attention from other world issues as necessary. For thirty years we’ve have been providing aide to the Egyptians (#2 behind Israel). In return Egypt ensured stability between itself and Israel, helped stabilize our arms industry, was a key ally in fighting terror, supplying intelligence and intelligence assistance and being a stalwart ally in the foreign policy arena.
For the last 30 years Egyptian officers have gone to US military schools, developed strong relationships with the US military, armed its defense forces with the M16 family of weapons, M1 tanks, M113 variant, M113/Bradley turret vehicle (EIFV), MLRS, Apache attack helicopters and F16s. Then our administration believed the Arab Spring was going to usher in western style democracy and the Muslim Brotherhood was a secular organization ignoring the use of “Muslim” in their name. The military, always a key force in Egyptian politics, stood aside as Mubarak was undermined and eventually abandoned by the US.
It continued to stand aside while the US pushed for early democratic elections failing to have the foresight that the ONLY organized group was the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood that had to be organized to survive in an Egyptian society where it was once outlawed. Subsequently the Muslim Brotherhood won elections and immediately started to consolidate its power undermining parliament, monopolizing the new constitutional committee with Islamists and ensuring the Koran was the standard in constitutional development. More disturbing, persecution of Christians reached epidemic levels, President Morsi called for the release of the Blind Sheik who’s serving a sentence for the “93 Twin Towers bombing, Egypt pulled back security before the US Embassy was stormed, the flag torn down with Al Qaeda’s replacing it. Israel suffered increased terror attacks as Egypt opened the border and weapons flooded across the border requiring Israel to take action.
This whole time, the Egyptian military stood aside as the administration applauded the Muslim Brotherhood. The growing terrorist threat in the Sinai, Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to take control of the military and the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to make secular Egypt a Salafist one forced the Army to act.
The Army decided enough, removed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Crowds that dwarfed the crowds calling for Mubarak’s ouster filled Egypt but the US administration that abandoned Mubarak wouldn’t abandon Morsi and his anti western initiatives going as far as blocking US aid. Well it seems like the Egyptians have had enough and are considering diversifying their 30 year relationship with the US. Two days ago Bloomberg reported Egypt is looking to close a $2bil weapons deal with Russia including Mig 29 and potentially short- to medium-range Russian defense systems such as the Buk M2, Tor M2 and Pantsir-S1 as well as anti-tank systems. $12bil has been pledged to Egypt since the coup from other countries. Many of the same countries upset over US stumbling over Syria. Egypt’s Foreign Minister today rejected Egypt is looking at replacing the US. If the administration doesn’t pay attention there could be a lot of American defense consultants and officials with one way tickets out of Egypt…