“They are trying to send the U.S. a strong message by approaching Russia the way they are, which is ‘unless you stop linking military aid with political issues, we”re going to look elsewhere.'” Message received — except by Obama, who with his unstinting and uncritical support for the Muslim Brotherhood created the vacuum that the Russians are filling.
“Russia negotiates its biggest arms deal with Egypt since the Cold War after Barack Obama cuts defence aid,” by Henry Meyer and Mariam Fam for Bloomberg News, November 12 (thanks to Maxwell):
Russia is negotiating its biggest weapons deals with Egypt since the Cold War as it seeks to capitalize on U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to cut defence aid to the military-backed government.
Egypt is seeking as much as US$2 billion in Russian weaponry, including MiG-29 fighter planes, air-defence systems and anti-tank missiles, said Ruslan Pukhov, a member of the Russian Defence Ministry”s advisory board and head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow.
The Russian defence and foreign ministers will fly to Cairo this week for two days of talks with Egyptian officials on “military-technical” cooperation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Nov. 8. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy confirmed the arms talks in an interview with Russia’s state-run Arabic language channel RT Tuesday.
The Obama administration last month suspended some military aid to Egypt, including US$260 million in cash and deliveries of F-16 fighter jets, helicopters and tanks in an effort to prod the North African country toward democracy. Egypt’s army ousted President Mohamed Mursi in July, leading to clashes between security forces and Mursi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood that have left more than 1,000 people dead.
The Russian visit sends “a strong political message that stresses the desire” of Russia “to bolster relations and cooperate with Egypt in all fields,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said by phone Tuesday. This doesn’t mean “substituting one party with another but rather diversifying the alternatives and choices.”
Egyptian officials are seeking financing from an unidentified Persian Gulf country to buy as much as US$4 billion of Russian arms, Palestinian newspaper Dunia al-Watan reported Nov. 6, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have pledged at least US$12 billion to Egypt’s new government.
Russia signed a weapons deal with Iraq last year that’s worth more than US$4.2 billion, its biggest with that Middle Eastern country since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003….
“They are trying to send the U.S. a strong message by approaching Russia the way they are, which is “˜unless you stop linking military aid with political issues, we”re going to look elsewhere,– Yasser el-Shimy, an analyst for the International Crisis Group in Cairo, said by phone Tuesday.