A lot can change in three years. Obama had just made a speech in Cairo and Egypt seemed like a beacon of stability in the Middle East and Egyptian
President Mubarak like a rock that could not move.
But the rock has fallen and Egypt’s future is cast in doubt.
Members of Congress do not call for breach of promise, four F-16 jets have already been delivered, but for delay and conditions on further delivery of another 16 F-16s under the Foreign Military Financing Program.
Representatives Tim Griffin (R-2nd AR), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-27th FL), and 37 other Representatives wrote a letter to President Obama and newly-appointed Secretary of State John Kerry asking the Commander-in-Chief and his chief diplomat to seek assurances of political and social stability in Egypt before delivering any more aircraft. The Representatives expressed their reservations about the Egyptian President’s past statements on Israel as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I think this is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious zealot who said recently [in 2010] that Jews were ‘bloodsuckers’ and ‘descendants of apes and pigs.’ This doesn’t sound like the kind of stable personality that we would be sending our most sophisticated weapons to,” he said and added the US may be “feeding” an arms race in the region.
President Morsi said his remarks were taken out of context. Morsi said the remarks were meant to convey the Brotherhood’s stance on Israel’s foreign policy, not on the Jewish people.
Secretary of State John Kerry called the remarks “reprehensible,” but defended the Obama Administration’s delivery of the aircraft. During his confirmation hearing, Kerry appeared to invoke basic contract law.
“The fact that sometimes other countries elect someone you don’t agree with doesn’t give us permission to walk away,” he said. “We have critical interests with Egypt, critical interests. Egypt has thus far supported, lived by peace agreements with Israel and has taken steps to deal with the problem of security in the Sinai. Those are vital to us, our security interests and the security interests of Israel.”
Clearly this indicates the deal for the F-16s and M1 tanks were not negotiated with Mubarak himself or on any consideration related to the Egyptian people, but negotiated with either the Egyptian government regardless of who is in power or perhaps even directly with the Egyptian military itself, on consideration of the continued security of the Sinai Peninsula.
Otherwise, the Obama Administration could treat the election of Morsi or the continuing riots in the streets of Cairo as a sign of possible repudiation. In that case, the US would have reasonable grounds to believe Egypt may not deliver on their promises made in exchange for the F-16s or Abrams tanks and the US would be right now demanding adequate assurances and delaying shipment of the multi-role jet fighters and battle tanks until we got it instead of expediting their delivery.
Which begs the question whether we should be including as conditions in foreign and military aid to such countries, election results or humane treatment of their own people. That is, if we still consider such aid is a good idea at all.