The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it had approved a nearly $200 million weapons sale to Egypt, a move that is drawing widespread condemnation due to the rights abuses of the Egyptian government.
The sale is for $197 million in missiles made by Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement that the sale will “support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally country that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East.”
The approval comes after President Biden suspended some arms sales to Saudi Arabia, including a sale of Raytheon-made bombs worth an estimated $478 million. Earlier this month, the administration approved an $85 million sale of Raytheon-made missiles for Chile.
On the campaign trail, Biden slammed President Trump for his kind words for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who Trump called his “favorite dictator.” In July, Biden vowed “no more blank checks” for Sisi over Egypt’s detainment of a political prisoner.
The approval of the arms sale coincides with the arrest of family members of Mohamed Soltan, a US-based Egyptian-American political activist. Six of Soltan’s relatives were arrested on Sunday.