Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Instability in Egypt, where a newly-elected Islamic government teeters over an angry population, isn't enough to stop Obama from sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets, as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package
The first four jets are to be delivered to Egypt beginning January 22, 2013 a source at the naval air base in Fort Worth, where the planes have been undergoing testing, said. The North African nation already has a fleet of more than 200 of the planes and the latest shipment merely fulfills an order placed two years ago. But given the uncertainty in Cairo, some critics wonder if it is wise to be sending more top gun planes. “Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “Given Washington's fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.” The U.S. government ordered and paid for the fighter jets for Egypt's military as part of foreign aid for Egypt back in 2010, when Hosni Mubarak ruled. The fighter jets were supposed to be delivered in 2013, and delivery will go ahead as scheduled even though Hosni Mubarak has been removed from power and replaced by Mohamed Morsi, who led the Muslim Brotherhood before becoming Egypt's president. Morsi was democratically elected, but recntly attempted to seize dictatorial powers for himself. After widespread protests and violence in Egypt's capital of Cairo, Morsi backed off from his power grab. But he is pushing through a controversial new constitution for Egypt that would more strictly enforce Islamic Shariah law, and only recently has said that he reserves the right to have the military arrest protesters without charges.