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Lawmakers question gift of 20 F-16s to Morsi's Egypt
1 year ago
| POLITICAL

Key lawmakers expressing concerns about the Obama administration's plan to  send 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, where new President Mohamed Morsi's  allegiances are as uncertain as his grip on power.

Under a foreign aid deal signed in 2010, when Morsi's U.S.-friendly  predecessor Hosni Mubarak was in charge, the U.S. is giving the planes to  Egypt's air force, which already has more than 200 of the aircraft. The first  four jets are to be delivered beginning Jan. 22, a source at the naval air base  in Fort Worth, where the planes have been undergoing testing, told FoxNews.com.  But the $213 million gift is raising questions on Capitol Hill as Morsi is under  fire for trying to seize dictatorial powers and allegedly siccing thugs and  rapists on protesters.

Florida Rep.Vern Buchanan, who recently called for ending foreign aid to  Egypt altogether, said the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi government has been  sending increasingly troubling signals to Washington, and giving it  state-of-the-art fighter jets is a dangerous idea.

“American tax dollars must not be used to aid and abet any dictatorial regime  that stands with terrorists,” Buchanan said.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas), vice chairman of the House Armed Services  Committee, told FoxNews.com Egypt is a wild card under Morsi.

“At this point, we don't know where Egypt is headed," Thornberry said. "We  should be cautious about driving them away, but we should also be cautious about  the arms we provide.”

Just last week, vigilante supporters of Morsi captured dozens of protesters,  detaining and beating them before handing them over to police, according to  human rights advocates. Morsi-backed groups have also been accused of using rape  to intimidate female protesters who have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to  protest a Sharia-based constitution and Morsi's neutering of the nation's legal  system.

“At this point, we don't know where Egypt is headed."

- Rep. Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas)

The U.S. government ordered and paid for the  fighter jets for Egypt's military back in 2010. But since Mubarak's ouster, the  democratically elected Morsi has sent mixed signals about whether he wants an  alliance with Washington, even meeting with leaders in Iran earlier this  year.

"The Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood government has not proven to be a partner  for democracy as they had promised, given the recent attempted power grab," a  senior Republican congressional aide told FoxNews.com.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Committee on Foreign  Affairs, recently criticized U.S.  military aid to Egypt:

“The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian  government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United  States,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said.

The package had to be approved by lawmakers in Washington. While the basic  F-16 has been a military workhorse for top air forces for more than 25 years,  the cockpit electronics are constantly updated and the models Egypt is getting  are the best defense contractor Lockheed Martin makes.

"This is a great day for Lockheed Martin  and a testament to the enduring partnership and commitment we have made to the  government of Egypt," said John Larson, vice president, Lockheed Martin F-16  programs. "We remain committed to providing our customer with a proven, advanced  4th Generation multirole fighter."

"In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius exceed  that of all potential threat fighter aircraft," the U.S. Air Force description of  the plane reads.
"The F-16 can fly more than 500 miles, deliver its  weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return  to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver  ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions."

 

continued
1 year ago

A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. and Egypt have an important alliance that  is furthered by the transfer.

"The U.S.-Egypt defense relationship has served as the cornerstone of our  broader strategic partnership for over thirty years," said Lt. Col. Wesley  Miller. "The delivery of the first set of F-16s in January 2013 reflects the  U.S. commitment to supporting the Egyptian military's modernization  efforts.  Egyptian acquisition of F-16s will increase our militaries'  interoperability, and enhance Egypt's capacity to contribute to regional mission  sets."

But Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, warned  that Egypt's murky intentions could lead to the prospect of U.S. ally Israel  facing an air assault from even more U.S.-made 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,” Innocent said. “Given Washington's fiscal woes, American  taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”

Read more:  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/11/lawmakers-question-gift-20-f-16s-to-morsi-egypt/#ixzz2ItkhWJ32

1 year ago

Obama backing Morsi so easily, drat the deal they had signed. That was under Mubarek. Set up much?

1 year ago

I don't believe a deal with one govt would be locked in stone if the govt changed.  This smells bad!  The very idea that I have to struggle to pay taxes so Egypt can get a present worth over $4 Billion dollars really rubs me the wrong way!

1 year ago

This is just one more corrupt idea from non other than Obama hinself!! None of this is in the best interest of America! God Help Us!! When is somebody here in America going to have the guts to stand up and say enough is enough!?!?!? We can NOT accept anymore of this BS propaganda!!!

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