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Thu, Dec 13, 2012

DoD To Send F-16s To Egypt As Part Of Foreign Aid Package

First Jets To Be Delivered In January

Four F-16 fighter jets are to be delivered to Egypt next month as part of an overall foreign aid package worth approximately $1 billion, and the move is causing some concern given that the recently-elected Islamic government has not shown a lot of signs of stability.

Egypt already has a fleet of some 200 of the airplanes, and the delivery slated for January is part of an order that was placed two years ago, according to a report from Fox News.

Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst with the Cato Institute, said that if there is a conflict between Israel and Egypt, the U.S. could be in the uncomfortable position of having supplied similar armaments to both sides.

Part of the concern is that Hosni Mubarak, who was Egypt's president when the contract was signed, was replaced in a recent election by Mohamed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Since his democratic election, he has attempted to gain power more in line with a dictatorship, which has been vigorously opposed by the Egyptian people.

The sale of arms to Egypt has also been criticized by some in the U.S. Congress, including Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. She criticized the Obama administration for "throwing money at an Egyptian government that the President cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United States," the report said.

The Pentagon, however, said that there is an important alliance between the U.S. and Egypt that is "furthered" by the sale. Lt. Col Wesley Miller said that the delivery is a sign of the "U.S. commitment to supporting the Egyptian military's modernization efforts."

(F-16 pictured in file photo)

FMI: www.defense.gov

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