Arms Deal under Fire: The Proposed Sale of Multibillion Dollar Advanced US Air-to-Air Missiles and Other Systems to Egypt and Jordan Is Causing Some Bad Dreams in Washington and Tel Aviv

By Blanche, Ed | The Middle East, November 2004 | Go to article overview

Arms Deal under Fire: The Proposed Sale of Multibillion Dollar Advanced US Air-to-Air Missiles and Other Systems to Egypt and Jordan Is Causing Some Bad Dreams in Washington and Tel Aviv


Blanche, Ed, The Middle East


WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH started dishing out weapons to friendly Arab states, and anyone else that joined the Americans in the war against global terrorism, many in Congress were aghast. "God help us if Hosni Mubarak falls or gets shot, because every weapon we ever sold him will be used against us," one congressional aide famously wailed.

Bush's largesse was not welcomed in Israel either, particularly when it came to Egypt; Camp David peace treaty or no, US military aid to Cairo is a sore point with Israel. But, since it was a US reward for being the first Arab state to make peace with Israel, there isn't much the generals in Tel Aviv can do about it, except complain every time Washington sells President Mubarak a hot new weapons system.

Right now, Israel is trying to block the sale of advanced US air-to-air missiles and other systems to Egypt and Jordan, while the pro-Israel lobby tried in July to have the House of Representatives slash the $1.3bn in US military aid Egypt gets every year by $570m.

That move was stymied by some arm-twisting by national security advisor Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. He warned that cutting back military aid would damage relations with Cairo "at a very sensitive moment in the region". The big US defence contractors, of course, did all they could to steer Congress away from impeding their lucrative business in selling US financed weaponry to Cairo. Nonetheless, the debate brought out highly ambivalent feelings about Egypt. Congressman Tom Lantos, a California Democrat and a staunch supporter of Israel, was the driving force behind the amendment to the Foreign Aid Bill to switch military aid for Egypt to economic assistance. Washington has provided military aid totalling some $30bn since the 1979 peace treaty and Egypt has used this to modernise its forces, converting from Soviet-era equipment to US weaponry and doctrine.

Lantos noted: "It is clearly in the interest of the Egyptian people whose prime needs at the moment are in the educational and medical fields and not in additional high-tech weaponry ... The last thing this society needs is the ultimate in high-tech weaponry."

Israel's supporters in the House, led by Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican and the Jewish state's most fervent loyalist in Congress, used the debate to berate the Cairo government for tolerating "anti-Semitism", dragging its feet in the war against terrorism and failing to curb arms smuggling to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

But at the bottom of this post-September 2001 shift in attitude in Washington spurred on by the Israelis, who do not want to see Arabs get the increasingly sophisticated weaponry they are now requesting from the US is the growing concern that Islamist extremists, or others hostile to the US, could take over in key Muslim countries.

It's a measure of the concern in Washington that the regimes in "friendly" countries, are under threat as never before. The way Americans view these regimes has undergone profound change since 9/11 and the sudden desire to turn them into respectable democracies has made these regimes feel even more threatened than they probably are by Islamic zealots.

Nonetheless, on 24 July, John Lehman, a member of the commission that investigated the 9/11 disaster and a secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, warned that the threat of Islamists seizing power in Pakistan is real and "could fundamentally change the balance of security in the world".

The Saudis have bought tens of billions of dollars' worth of US weapons over the last three decades and Pakistan, once again a US ally, is the recipient of growing US military aid for its increasingly muscular campaign against Islamic extremists. But, just as Saudi Arabia is under threat from Osama bin Laden and his followers, Pakistan faces a growing internal threat from its Islamic hardliners who violently oppose his support for the Americans. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Arms Deal under Fire: The Proposed Sale of Multibillion Dollar Advanced US Air-to-Air Missiles and Other Systems to Egypt and Jordan Is Causing Some Bad Dreams in Washington and Tel Aviv
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.