The State Department has refused to cancel or delay the delivery of several American-made F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, claiming that the arms deal serves America’s “regional security interests,” according to an official State Department document obtained by the Free Beacon.
The news that the Obama administration would uphold an aid package to Egypt that included the military hardware prompted concern on Capitol Hill from lawmakers who said the deal was not prudent given the political situation in Egypt, where Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi has clashed with democratic protestors.
“Sixteen F-16s and 200 Abrams tanks are to be given to the Egyptian government before the end of the year under a foreign aid deal signed in 2010 with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,” Fox News reported Tuesday.
“President Morsi has failed to promote promised democracy in his country and neglected to continue Egypt’s legacy of maintaining peace in the region,” said Senator James Inhofe (R., Okla.). “I am alarmed and disappointed in the Obama Administration’s decision to decline my request to delay delivery of F-16s for further consideration.”
The State Department maintained in a January 8 letter to Inhofe that the arming of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood serves the U.S.’s “regional security interests.”
“Delaying or cancelling deliveries of the F-16 aircraft would undermine our efforts to address our regional security interests through a more capable Egyptian military and send a damaging and lasting signal to Egypt’s civilian and military leadership as we work toward a democratic transition in the key Middle Eastern State,” the State Department said.
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