Egypt ‘looking to Russia’ for arms after U.S. aid freeze

The Times of Israel reports: Egypt is looking to Russia to supply it with arms now that the US has frozen much of its military aid to the Egyptians, Israeli television reported Friday night.

The “historic achievement,” under which the US brought Egypt into its orbit in the years since the 1979 Camp David Israel-Egypt peace treaty, is about to “go down the drain,” the Channel 2 report said.

It referred to comments earlier this week by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, who said ties between Cairo and Washington were in “turmoil” and told CNN that Egypt would have to “find other sources” to meet its national security needs.

By “other sources,” said the TV report, Fahmy was referring to Russia, with whom Egypt was now looking to conclude a major arms deal.

This would represent a major change of orientation for Egypt, since its entire army had been built on US equipment for the past three decades.

The news came four days after reports that Israel had argued “directly and bluntly” with the Obama administration against US aid cuts to Egypt, telling Washington it was making “a strategic error” in reducing financial assistance to Cairo in the wake of the military’s ouster of president Mohammed Morsi. [Continue reading…]

U.S. military support for Egypt is much like that it provides to other countries: it’s involves the desire to foster political cooperation through dependence. However much independence Egypt’s current rulers might now want to assert, military support from Russia won’t remove the need for American hardware. With its F-16 fighters, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, the Egyptian military remained tied to the U.S.

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