Will America’s Delivery of F-16s to Egypt Threaten Israel?

February 5, 2013 1:50 am 1 comment

An F16 fighter jet.

There’s been a flurry of speculation surrounding America’s transfer of F-16s to Egypt both in Israel and the United States. This past Sunday, Egypt and the United States held a joint ceremony marking the delivery of four new F-16 aircraft to the Egyptian Air Force, despite objections from Republican Senator, Rand Paul who attempted to pass an amendment banning weapon sales to Egypt which the Senate voted down. U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson noted that “…a strong Egypt is in the interest of the U.S., the region, and the world.”

The United States will send a total of 20 new F-16 aircraft during the course of 2013, in addition to 200 Abram tanks. Egypt has 224 F-16s to date, as part of the 34-year security partnership between the US and Egypt. “The United States has long recognized Egypt as an indispensable partner,” said Patterson.

However, U.S. Senator Paul made it clear that he believed it was unwise to send American weaponry to an unstable Egypt. On the Senate floor, Rand declared that “I think this is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious zealot who said recently 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.”

Rand further stated that the weapons transfer would make it “more difficult for Israel to defend herself.”

In 2010, Mohamed Morsi declared as the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman in a televised interview with Lebanon’s Al-Quds TV that “we must confront this Zionist entity” and called on “all forms of resistance against “criminal Zionists.”  “The Zionists have no right to the land of Palestine,” affirmed Morsi. The Egyptian president also stated that “we want a country for the Palestinians on the entire land of Palestine on the basis of [Palestinian] citizenship. All the talk about a two-state solution and about peace is nothing but an illusion which the Arabs have been chasing for a long time now.”

Dr. Yehuda Balanga, an expert on Mideast and Egyptian affairs, who teaches at Bar Ilan University’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies, told Tazpit News Agency that while US weapons transfer to Egypt was not new, under Morsi, the state of affairs was different. “Under Mubarak, the story [of armoring Egypt] was different, but Morsi’s government may fall as the situation is very unstable and protests continue. The question of the recent American weapons transfer is simply timing.”

Dr. Balanga does not see the current F-16 aircraft transfer as a threat to Israel. “In order for America to continue its influence in Egypt, they are obligated to these agreements which were signed during Mubarak’s era,” he explained.

While Dr. Balanga believes that Morsi speaks Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric in public, he also thinks that behind closed doors, Morsi’s current leadership position has allowed him to open his eyes to Egypt’s economic dependence on the United States . “There is also a realistic side to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership. They understand that they need the West both economically and financially in their current economic crisis,” said Dr. Balanga. “The question is will Morsi’s government align with the radical Islamic philosophy of the Brotherhood and carry out its more radical ideology or follow Western ideals and interests in order to continue to secure Western assistance?”

According to the Xinhua news service, Egypt’s Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saed stated in late December that the Egyptian economy “needed 14.5 billion U.S. dollars within 20 months to overcome the ongoing crisis.”

Others, like Israeli statesman Dore Gold believe that although “arms transfer do not change the balance of power overnight, especially if only a few aircraft are involved…investing in weapons for projecting Egyptian military power over long distances should be re-thought…”  In a recent op-ed piece in Israel Hayom, Gold stated that America should first wait for the Muslim Brotherhood clarify what its true intentions are “with respect to its Middle Eastern neighbors.”

1 Comment

  • Lawrence Kulak

    Obama is simply acting typically recklessly when it comes to Israel’s interests by ignoring the instability in Egypt along with the fact that we really do not know where Morsi stands. If Obama were acting in Israel’s interest as Amabassador Gold said it would have waited since the jury is still out on Morsi and Egypt. If Morsi is overthrown, there is always the chance that a more radical leader can come to power with all that weaponry at his disposal. What is the need for a strong Egypt unless it is at peace with Israel and intends to continue to be? I bet Obama cannot answer that.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Featured Sports World Palestinian Soccer League Withdraws Bid to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Palestinian Soccer League Withdraws Bid to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    The head of Israel’s soccer association called on his Palestinian counterpart to “join forces,” as the Palestinian Football Association withdrew its bid on Friday to have Israel suspended from FIFA. “Let’s leave it to the politicians to do politics,” said Israel Football Association chief Ofer Eini, moments after PFA Chairman Jibril Rajoub announced that his group had withdrawn the proposal. After his remarks, Eini shook hands with the Palestinian soccer chief. Rajoub thanked “those” who convinced him to drop the [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    JNS.org – An organization whose work focuses on the estimated population of 500,000-800,000 Israeli Americans congratulated David Blatt, the Jewish head coach of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Cleveland Cavaliers and a longtime Israel-based coach, for clinching an appearance in the NBA Finals. The Israeli-American Council (IAC), whose stated mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel, our next generation, and to provide a bridge to [...]

    Read more →
  • Food US & Canada Bacon Flavor Ben & Jerry’s ‘Not Gonna Happen’ Because it Wouldn’t be Kosher

    Bacon Flavor Ben & Jerry’s ‘Not Gonna Happen’ Because it Wouldn’t be Kosher

    Famed ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s will not be introducing a Bacon flavored product to its offerings because the company intends to keep its entire line kosher, Marketing Director Alison Gilbert told AOL’s morning show Rise recently. “It’s kind of funny, a lot of people look for bacon in our ice cream, which is probably not gonna happen because all of our ice cream is kosher,” she said, referring to Jewish dietary restrictions that proscribe the consumption of pig [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli athletes at a world Judo championship in Morocco reportedly faced antisemitic slurs during the competition, news site WorldNetDaily reported on Monday. “We will murder you,” and “you’re not wanted here, go home,” were among the vituperative attacks directed at the Israeli Judo Association team, which was in Morocco last week for the World Masters Judo Tournament. According to Haaretz, each Israeli teammate was met with boos and jeers upon entering a fight. Additionally, no Israeli flags were present at [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.