(Photo Courtesy of US Air Force)
Early this morning, the U.S. sent four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt as part of a foreign aid deal that the U.S. signed in 2010 with then Egyptian-President Hosni Mubarek. An additional sixteen F-16s and 200 Abrams tanks are to be given to Egypt before the end of the year. The new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who was elected during the summer of 2012, has given mixed signals regarding his relations the U.S. and its allies. President Morsi stated, “Dear brothers, we must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them. They must be nursed on hatred. The hatred must continue.”
Republican Representative Louie Gohmert stated, “It is appalling that the Obama administration would send F-16s and 200 military tanks to Egypt in the wake of the instability, and the anti-American and anti-Israel atmosphere.” There is major fear that arming Egypt in such a way could have vicious repercussions in the years to come and could aid a much unwanted arms race.
This foreign aid deal tops $1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money. Gohmert claimed, “My hope and prayer is that someone in this administration will wake up and smell the burning of Israel’s future and rescind the supply of planes and tanks.”
Republican Representative Vern Buchanan stated, “American tax dollars must not be used to aid and abet any dictatorial regime that stands with terrorists.” Fox News reported that as much as 80% of Egypt’s Defense Ministry’s weaponry comes from U.S. aid. A spokesperson for the Obama administration said the U.S. seeks to “maintain a strategic partnership with Egypt that enhances the security and peace of the region.” Those supporting the aid package harp on the importance of Egypt not just regarding Israel, but also because Egypt controls the Suez Canal, “a vital staging point for U.S. operations in the gulf.’
The strongest argument in support of the aid package is that F-16s are incredibly sophisticated systems that depend on U.S. manufacturers for use. No other nations supply F-16 fighter jets. An F-16 can range over 500 miles and can fire its weapons with tremendous precision. Supporters imply that without U.S. maintenance, F-16 fighter jets will not ‘likely’ be used against the U.S. or U.S. allies.
What do you think about the U.S. giving over $1 billion of modern weaponry to a new Egyptian government that has yet to gain the trust of the U.S.? The deal was signed with the former President, with whom the U.S. had an alliance. While observing the new Egyptian President’s views of Israel and Zionists and Jews in the Middle East, does this foreign aid package seem strategically sound? Is there risk of Egyptians learning to use the F-16s without U.S. assistance, possibly causing major destruction in the Middle East? I understand that the Obama administration knows much more about U.S.-Egyptian relations than I do, but part of me cannot help but ask, four F-16s, are we F-16-ing crazy?