Oops, we did it again: US sends four more F-16s to Egypt

F-16
U.S. F-16 fighter

Another four U.S. F-16 fighter jets were on their way to Egypt Thursday as part of a large foreign aid package inked back in 2010. While the situation in Egypt was much different when the initial deal was made, critics say now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in charge, the U.S. shouldn’t follow through with the terms, according to Fox News.

Mohammad Morsi hasn’t been as vocal since his election last summer, but in 2010 Morsi attacked Obama for supporting Israel.

“One American president after another — and most recently, that Obama — talks about American guarantees for the safety of the Zionists in Palestine,” Morsi, then a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Egyptian TV reacting to Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech. “[Obama] was very clear when he uttered his empty words on the land of Egypt. He uttered many lies.”

Critics in Congress say the U.S. shouldn’t follow through with the package, and that it betrays the friendship America shares with Israel.

Now that Morsi is the Egyptian leader, some security experts say that aid will just prop up a bad regime. Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, agrees.

U.S. aid packages limit, rather than leverage, Washington’s ability to extract meaningful concessions from Cairo on democratic reform. Sending arms conveys a tacit indifference to Morsi’s authoritarian tendencies, including its harassment and intimidation of regime critics.

American taxpayers have been Egypt’s major arms supplier, subsidizing the supply of F-16 jet fighters, M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, and hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus military equipment.

“Friends don’t send U.S. taxpayer-funded F-16s and tanks to the enemies of their friends,” Rep. Gohmert, R-Texas, told FoxNews.com.

A statement issued from the State Department warned that not following through with promised aid could have “disastrous consequences”, “undermine our efforts to address regional security”, and “send a damaging signal to Egypt’s civilian and military leadership”.

Anthony Cordesman, who has served as a consultant for the State and Defense departments, told FoxNews.com that the planes are less important than the message they send.

“Canceling a few F-16s isn’t going to be a game changer in itself, but it’d change perceptions in the Arab world. They would see how quickly the U.S. could turn away when there’s a crisis,” Cordesman said.

 

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