News / Middle East

Washington: Military Aid to Egypt Serves US National Security Interests

FILE - An Apache helicopter flies over Tahrir Square during a protest to support the army, in Cairo, Egypt, July 2013.
FILE - An Apache helicopter flies over Tahrir Square during a protest to support the army, in Cairo, Egypt, July 2013.
The United States is defending its decision to allow some military aid to flow to Egypt, despite concerns that the country's promised transition back to democracy has been anything but smooth.
 
Egyptian police in Alexandria respond to protesting students Wednesday with tear gas and buckshot.

Clashes like this one have some questioning why the United States is agreeing to send 10 Apache attack helicopters to Egypt.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said, “We’ve identified a very significant mutual national security interest. It is in our interest; it is in America’s national security interest for Egypt to continue battling terrorism in the Sinai.”

David Schenker, director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute, said the terror threat is a growing concern.

“The insurgency in the Sinai is booming. This is ungoverned space. The Bedouin and the residents of the Sinai have long been underserved by the government of Egypt.”

Schenker said the Apache is Egypt’s weapon of choice in fighting the growing numbers of al-Qaida-linked militants in the Sinai, but that Egypt may have found a way to help force Washington’s hand.

“They also have some Russian helicopters, and the notion that they’re going to go out and procure more Russian helicopters with Saudi money - something that they’ve said and that is said is currently being negotiated - also prompted the transfer right now,” he said.

Analysts say the move also could help ease tensions between Washington and Cairo, even as the U.S. pushes Egypt to follow through on the promise of free and fair elections.

As for assurances Egypt will not use the helicopters against civilians, the Pentagon’s Colonel Warren had this to say: “Well, we continue to dialogue with them [the Egyptians] and to ensure that they do obey.”

Warren noted the U.S. has turned down Egyptian requests to move ahead with transfers of F-16 fighter jets, M-1 tanks and harpoon missiles, which he said are not needed in the fight against terrorists.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: A. Badlawi from: Egypt
April 24, 2014 10:21 AM
hey America, what you don't understand is that Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization - it is Hamas, it is Al Qaeda, it is Islamic Jihad. They are want to kill you and Israelis and Canadians - what don't you understand? and i hear that Muslim Brotherhood was elected in Egypt - so what? Hamas was elected in Gaza!!! do you know what hell it is to live under Hamas Islamic rule? you think Gaza is a democracy? what are you stupid? look, America, if you don't like to face reality, stay out of the Middle East.
In Response

by: Dr Yasser Negm from: UK
April 24, 2014 2:40 PM
Your comment reminds me of this Egyptian woman in a video saying:
Listen your Obama...
:)
Exactly the same mentality.

by: Khaled from: egypt
April 23, 2014 10:53 PM
Obama didn't give the helicopters for Egypt without being sure that we Egyptian are fighting against terrorist that will transfer later if they win in Egypt to Israel and to USA itself. Those people are bombing daily innocent people and they don't care about lives. As well Obama is quite sure that Russia is waiting to supply egyptians with weapons just to be inside the middle east again. We don't need helicopters to fight against Ethiopia unless the want to go for wars. We egyptians have enough problems and we are not interested in increasing them by going for wars.

by: Scott from: Chicago, USA
April 23, 2014 10:51 PM
In recent years, the US government has carried out an aggressive foreign policy of overthrowing democratically elected governments that don't toe the US line, and replacing them with unpopular but pro-US regimes. The US succeeded in overthrowing Egypt's first democratic government, an atrocity that put an end to the Arab Spring. In its place, the United States restored the old regime of the dictator Mubarak, although without Mubarak himself at its head. The Egyptian coup seemed like such a painless "regime change" that the US was led to believe that overthrowing Ukraine's elected government would be a similarly painless way to return a country to the US orbit. A bad bet. Far from simply undermining Ukraine's elected government, the US-backed coup has undermined Ukraine's continued existence as a country, as the eastern half of the country has risen up in secessionist revolt. In the long run, the undermining of Egyptian democracy will probably be seen as an equally disastrous anti-democracy exercise.

by: Sensi
April 23, 2014 10:06 PM
Simply shameful, the US can't stop themselves to be on the wrong side of history on so many foreign policies...

Keep on backing and funding military junta dictatorships, keep on allying with nauseous dictatorships like Saudi Arabia which are the major supporter and backer of Islamist fundamentalisms and Sunni terrorism worldwide, be an enabler and supporter of the Israel land-grabbing quasi-apartheid, veto every Palestinian legitimate rights at the UN, then dare to claim to be defending the so-called values of democracy and human rights.

The world will have to move on quickly from such a discredited and misleading "leadership", I don't specifically blame Obama as it is a long lasting bipartisan disease, signed on by cowards surrendering to lobbies, special interests or misplaced historical ties...

by: menelik from: united states
April 23, 2014 9:50 PM
The United States Government have made some dumb decision in the past, and like any government will make some stupid decision in the future, When it come to Egypt the United States have made the Egyptian military the number 1 military in Africa, now with a looming war between Ethiopia and Egypt the United States is Making one of the dumbest moves yet again. as an Ethiopian I see this as an act of Arming the Egyptian Military against Ethiopia, The Obama administration better stop and think whose side they stand by before it's too late, because Ethiopia will not loose a war against Egypt unless the United States gives Egypt a nuke, all these air craft being handed to the Extremist in Egypt will only contribute to more death and destruction when this war starts. the blood of Ethiopian warriors will be spilled thanks to US GVT handing over weapons to Egypt for apparently no reason. Obama better think long and hard about where he sticks his nose and what it will do to Africa, more blood being spilled will not benefit the United States in any way shape or form.

by: dale from: santa cruz mts
April 23, 2014 9:23 PM
Military aid to a military dictatorship that came to power through a violent coup and has made the most popular party in the nation illegal and killed hundreds of protesters.....................
is necessary because, like Hitler and Putin, the army is fighting terrorism.

This is the most bankrupt garbage ever proposed as a justification for giving money to the current Junta.

The way to create democracy is to destroy it. This works in Ukraine as well as Egypt and dozens of other nations in recent history. The US has funded and armed terrorists since day one.

State terrorism is the norm, and the US is the leader. We even arm our enemies. This supports the war economy, the Military/Industrial Complex and keeps the neo-cons in power.

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child..........
where can I go to find sane people?
Costa Rica?

In Response

by: Kamil Pallia from: USA
April 23, 2014 10:18 PM
you could go to GAZA... where everything you said makes perfect sense... by the way. we have an institution for guys like you - its called Guantanamo Bay...!!!

by: David Giles from: Michigan
April 23, 2014 8:43 PM
Fight them in Sinai and arm them in Libya and Syria. You want good relations with Egypt stop killing people all over the world. End the biased support for Israel.
In Response

by: dale from: santa cruz mts
April 24, 2014 9:14 AM
Fascists like Kamil think if you challenge American lies, you should be locked up without charges. Dissent is a crime! Put them in Gitmo!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs