US sends out confused signals on Egypt
The US has cancelled $130 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) aid to Egypt on ‘human rights’ grounds, just days after announcing a $2.55 billion FMS package for the North African country and three weeks after Lockheed Martin gained a $102 million contract to upgrade Egyptian Air Force attack helicopters.
A halt to FMF support was on the cards since September 2021, when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken released $300 million but withheld the $130 million unless the Egyptian government addressed ‘specific human-rights related conditions’ by the end of January 2022.
In a 28 January announcement, the State Department confirmed that Cairo had failed to meet these conditions, so the $130 million will be diverted to other US national security priorities.
However, the decision lays the US open to charges of inconsistency, especially as it had approved the sale of a dozen new C-130J Super Hercules airlifters and SPS-48 air defence radar systems just a few days before.
In justifying its approval of this FMS package on 25 January, the State Department said the provision of C-130Js and SPS-48s would ‘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’.
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