The United States is sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets to the Egyptian government as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package, despite the fact that mass protests have been revived following successive dictatorial measure by the newly elected President Mohammad Morsi.
Morsi just recently backed off a controversial decree immunizing himself from judicial scrutiny after Egyptians once again hit the streets to protest the executive overreach. But he then turned around and practically established martial law, granting the army the power to arrest civilians and prompting more outrage.
The US agreement to send Egypt the fighter jets was established in 2010, back when long-time US client dictator Hosni Mubarak still ruled. Despite the change in leadership – and despite the Egyptian government’s lamentable behavior since the revolution – Washington is going ahead with the aid package.
“The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United States,” says Ileana Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “Given Washington’s fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”
The US is desperate to retain as much of its influence over Egypt and the rest of the Middle East as possible and so is perfectly willing to continue to arm and subsidize ugly regimes at the expense of the American taxpayer.
The other beneficiary, of course, is the military industrial complex – specifically Lockheed Martin, the corporation that makes the F-16s.
“This is a great day for Lockheed Martin and a testament to the enduring partnership and commitment we have made to the government of Egypt,” said John Larson, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 programs. “We remain committed to providing our customer with a proven, advanced 4th Generation multirole fighter.”