News / USA

Pentagon Delays F-16 Deliveries to Egypt

A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter takes off from the Aviano airbase, Italy, in this 1994 file photo.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter takes off from the Aviano airbase, Italy, in this 1994 file photo.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense officials are delaying the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt following this month's military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.  

Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters Wednesday the decision to indefinitely delay the delivery of the four warplanes came from President Barack Obama, whose administration is now in the process of reviewing Washington's longstanding military support to Egypt.

“Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” he said.

The Obama administration has said it is deeply concerned about the Egyptian military's decision to remove President Morsi and is calling for a speedy return to a democratically elected civilian government.

Key Dates in Egypt

  • February 11, 2011 - President Hosni Mubarak resigns after weeks of massive protests and clashes
  • January 21, 2012 - The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party wins almost half of Egypt's parliamentary seats
  • June 24, 2012 - Mohamed Morsi becomes Egypt's first freely elected president
  • November 22, 2012 - Morsi grants himself sweeping powers, sparking protests
  • July 3, 2013 - The army removes Morsi from power and suspends the constitution
Shortly after the ouster, President Obama ordered U.S. government agencies to review assistance programs for Egypt.  

Egypt receives $1.3 billion in U.S. aid each year.

U.S. officials say the suspension of F-16 deliveries does not mean the U.S. is stopping all aid to Egypt, which Washington considers a key ally in the Middle East.  In his statement Wednesday, Little said the U.S. remains committed to its defense relationship with the Egyptians, but he made Washington's desires clear.

"Moving forward, everything that we do and say will continue to be focused on hastening Egypt's return to a democratically elected government as soon as possible," he said.

Until now, the administration had refrained from announcing any measures in direct response to the ouster of Morsi.

U.S. law mandates that aid be suspended to governments following military coups.  In this case, U.S. officials say they are still working to determine whether the removal of Morsi qualifies as a coup d'etat.

The four F-16's were part of a sale of 20 aircraft to Egypt.  Eight were delivered earlier this year.

  • Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi attend Friday prayer at Nasr City, where protesters have installed their camp and hold daily rallies in Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • Opponents of Mohamed Morsi during a protest at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, July 26, 2013.
  • An Egyptian military helicopter near the Cairo tower, Friday, July 26, 2013.
  • A man flashes victory signs at a military helicopter near the presidential palace in Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi atop a bridge during a rally around Rabaa Adawiya Square, Cairo July 26, 2013.
  • Supporters of Morsi during a demonstration outside the Egyptian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 26, 2013.
  • A member of the Muslim Brotherhood at a rally around Rabaa Adawiya square, Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • A military helicopter among clouds of smoke in Cairo, July 26, 2013.
  • In this image taken from Egypt State TV, Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a speech in Cairo, July 24, 2013.
  • Sand barriers set up by protesters near Cairo University in Giza, Egypt, July 23, 2013.
  • Firefighters extinguish a scooter that was set on fire during clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Morsi in Cairo, July 22, 2013.
  • Firefighters extinguish a scooter that was set on fire during clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Morsi in Cairo, July 22, 2013.

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Comment Sorting
by: Andeii from: Belgium
July 25, 2013 4:56 AM
I read the comments below and I think that you US people are good educated. Thank you for supporting Egyptians against coup.

Thank you very much

by: Slavko
July 24, 2013 7:40 PM
hopefully same does not happened to Egypt and Egyptian militery and hopefully they dont get orders to shoot at their own people like JNA army the end of 1991, Serbian politicians and JNA leaders alike had concluded that it would be counter-productive to continue the war. The looming conflict in Bosnia also required the military resources tied up in Croatia to be freed for future use.[Although the battle was publicly portrayed as a triumph, behind the scenes it profoundly affected the JNA's character and leadership. The army's leaders realised that they had overestimated their ability to pursue operations against heavily defended urban targets. The central Croatian town of Gospić, for instance, was a strategic target of the JNA but was now assessed as potentially a "second Vukovar". The "Serbianisation" of the army was greatly accelerated, and by the end of 1991 it was estimated to be 90 percent Serb. Its formerly pro-Communist, pan-Yugoslav identity was abandoned, and new officers were now advised to "love, above all else, their unit, their army, and their homeland – Serbia and Montenegro". The JNA's failure enabled the Serbian government to tighten its control over the military, whose leadership was purged and replaced with pro-Milošević nationalists. After the battle General Veljko Kadijević, commander of the JNA, was forced into retirement for "health reasons", and in early 1992 another thirty-eight generals and other officers were forced to retire, with several put on trial for incompetence and treason.[175]

Many individual JNA soldiers who took part in the battle were revolted by what they had seen and protested to their superiors about the behaviour of the paramilitaries. Colonel Milorad Vučić later commented that "they simply do not want to die for such things". The slaughter that they witnessed at Vukovar led some to experience subsequent feelings of trauma and guilt. A JNA veteran told a journalist from the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat:

'I was in the Army and I did my duty. Vukovar was more of a slaughter than a battle. Many women and children were killed. Many, many.' I asked him: 'Did you take part in the killing?' He answered: 'I deserted.' I asked him: 'But did you kill anyone?' He replied: 'I deserted after that ... The slaughter of Vukovar continues to haunt me. Every night I imagine that the war has reached my home and that my own children are being butchered

by: Charlie from: USA
July 24, 2013 6:47 PM
its so sad that we give arms to rouge generals araound the world

by: r.u.crazy from: Texas
July 24, 2013 4:34 PM
Perhaps it would be better to cut off all military aid to all countries until we have a clear objective for providing such aid. If there is a clear argument for overthrowing a democratically elected president then one need not look any further than the president of the United States. He too, has chosen a path that clearly is not in step with the majority of Americans but we are a patient society, to a point, and this administration is very much aware of this. I see many parallels between Egypt and the U.S. Do you?

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