The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it is resuming arms shipments to the military dictatorship in Egypt, beginning with the transfer of 12 F-16 fighter jets, missiles and the components required to build 125 tanks. In a personal call to Egypt’s ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Obama also pledged to resume the annual transfer of $1.3 billion in military aid.
The White House made no effort to claim that Egypt had made “credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government”—the statutory condition for ending the suspension of military aid imposed in October 2013. Instead, it invoked an exemption passed by Congress late last year to override this requirement.
Resuming military aid to Egypt, the second largest recipient of such assistance from the US, after Israel, is “in the interest of US national security,” a White House statement declared. Obama told al-Sisi it was necessary for Egypt and the US to “refine our military assistance relationship so that it is better positioned to address the shared challenges to US and Egyptian interests…”
The administration could not even make a pretense that Egypt had made a turn toward democracy. The blood-soaked al-Sisi regime has not slackened its murderous repression one iota. Since coming to power, it has brutally repressed protests. Political opponents have been beaten, killed and arrested en masse. According to one count, more than 41,000 people have been locked up since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi in 2013. More than 1,000 political opponents have been sentenced to death.
The decision to resume arms shipments to Egypt came only two days after the announcement by Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, that US military forces will begin direct training of right-wing National Guard militias organized by the Kiev regime, including the fascist Azov Battalion. This outfit, founded and led by neo-Nazis, has been on the front lines of the war in eastern Ukraine against pro-Russian separatists.