American Aid Freeze Pushes Egypt to Look to Russia for Arms

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In light of the U.S. freeze on major portions of military aid to Egypt, Egypt’s foreign minister Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy has said that the move by the U.S. would force Egypt to “look for other sources.”  

Without specifically naming a country, Fahmy’s remarks are understood to mean Egypt will now look to Russia, with whom Egypt is now engaged in trying to secure a major arms deal.

The move threatens to put Egypt in an alliance with Russia, after having successfully been cultivated as a U.S. ally since the 1979 Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel.

That “historic achievement,” according to Israel TV Channel 2, is about to “go down the drain.”

Israel TV also said that Israeli intervention prevented a cut in U.S. aid to Egypt used to fight jihadi terrorists in the Sinai. In discussions with America described as unusually direct and blunt, Israel termed the cut in aid as a "strategic error" against America's "wider interests."

In an interview with CNN, Foreign Minister Fahmy said, “This has been a relationship that has had a continued continuity to it, especially on strategic issues like military cooperation, and any disruption in that continuity raises concerns.”

“This is an important relationship to both countries and we need to work to enhance it because it serves both sides,” he added. “Now, if your friends in the region — when they are facing terrorism, particularly — cannot depend on a continuous supply of equipment that deals with terrorists, then you are obviously going to raise questions in the minds of your friends about your dependability. And that will affect your interests as well as that of your friends like Egypt.”

America, specifically President Obama, views the aid freeze as a punishment for the Egyptian army’s deposing of Egypt’s elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party. In addition, the U.S. objects to the army’s handling of the protests that ensued in which Brotherhood supporters were shot and imprisoned.

Egypt’s current rulers strongly object to this description of what transpired. Egyptian security forces were systematically attacked and shot, forcing them to respond in self-defense. Further, Morsi’s removal followed continued protests by more than 30 million Egyptians. Morsi, himself, refused all overtures by the army that would have enabled a sharing of power.

Moreover, documentation shows that Morsi’s win in the extremely tight election was unfair from the beginning due to Brotherhood strongmen preventing opponents from reaching the polls.  After Morsi was elected, he seized all powers for himself, preventing the legislative and judicial branches of government from functioning independently.

In addition, his fellow Brotherhood members infiltrated the media, shutting down opposition voices in Egypt. Finally, his release of Islamist prisoners, some held on terrorism charges, as well as his appoint of a former terrorist as governor Luxor were all viewed by the Egyptian military was “undemocratic.”  

See below, Fahmy's full interview with CNN's Christine Amanpour:

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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