With No Real Democracy in Sight, Obama Administration Resumes Sending Boeing Weapons to Egyptian Military Anyway

Friday, April 25, 2014
Apache helicopter hovers over mass protest in Cairo (Getty photo)

The Obama administration last summer halted all military sales to Egypt following the military coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi, as required under federal law when a foreign regime tosses aside its democratic government. But less than a year later, with no changes in effect to restore democracy, Egypt will once again receive American weaponry following an about-face by the administration.

 

With the support of the State Department, the Pentagon informed the Egyptian military, which still controls the country, that 10 Apache helicopters will be heading its way.

 

The decision to ship the Boeing-made hardware was made despite the admission of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the U.S. is “unable to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition,” according to an official statement released by the Defense Department.

 

Likewise, Secretary of State John Kerry also said that he could not offer any evidence that Egypt was heading back towards democracy. All Kerry could say to justify the Apache delivery was Egypt had met key criteria for Washington to resume some aid, The Washington Post reported.

 

That criteria, Pentagon officials said, included the need to help Egyptian armed forces combat terrorists operating in the Sinai.

 

Hagel told his Egyptian counterpart, General Sedki Sobhy, that it was important for his country to “demonstrate progress on a more inclusive transition that respects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Egyptians.”

 

Since Morsi’s overthrow, the military has cracked down on the former president’s supporters, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. It also has jailed hundreds of political protesters and dissidents, as well as some foreign journalists.

 

Foreign policy experts criticized the move to send attack helicopters to Egypt.

 

“Resuming the delivery of some of these weapons without noting the original reasons or any progress on human rights cheapens [President] Obama’s words and weakens U.S. credibility,” Amy Hawthorne, a Middle East expert at the Atlantic Council who worked on Egypt policy at the State Department, told the Post.

 

Prior to the suspension of military assistance, the U.S. provided about $1.3 billion in weapons and other equipment to Egypt each year.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

U.S. to Partially Resume Military Aid to Egypt (by Ernesto Londono, Washington Post)

U.S. to Deliver Apache Helicopters to Egypt, Relaxing Hold on Aid (by Phil Stewart and Arshad Mohammed, Reuters)

Pressure from Weapons Industry Leads to Renewed Military Aid to Egypt (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Boeing/Narus Helps Egyptian Dictatorship Fight Pro-Democracy Movement (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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