The Guardian reports: The US has given the go-ahead for the delivery of 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt that the Obama administration had withheld since the military-led overthrow of Mohamed Morsi last year.
A spokesman for the US defence department said the helicopters would be sent to help Egypt quell a wave of militancy in the country’s northern Sinai desert, where Islamist extremists have been fighting a cat-and-mouse insurgency since Morsi’s overthrow last July, and have since made a series of bomb attacks on the Egyptian mainland.
Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed in the attacks. In turn, Egypt’s security officials have been criticised for its scorched-earth counterinsurgency tactics that have seen innocent Sinai residents killed, and their homes destroyed.
The Apaches’ delivery will please Egyptian military officials who had previously claimed in private that the withholding of the helicopters was in effect siding with the government’s opponents. But it will further anger Morsi’s supporters, who feel the US has always given tacit approval to the ex-president’s overthrow.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the delivery simply recognised Egypt’s commitment to its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, the terms of which dictate that the US supply Egypt with annual deliveries of military aid. But he cautioned that the move should not be seen as a blessing of Egypt’s political process. [Continue reading…]