Egypt finds alternative to U.S.- made warplanes

Noel King Feb 16, 2015
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Egyptian Foreign Affairs minister Sameh Shoukry and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a press conference as part of the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, late 2014.  KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

Egypt finds alternative to U.S.- made warplanes

Noel King Feb 16, 2015
Egyptian Foreign Affairs minister Sameh Shoukry and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a press conference as part of the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, late 2014.  KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
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In 2013, angered at the Egyptian government’s slow transition to democracy, the U.S. suspended some military aid to Egypt. By purchasing French-made jets, Cairo may be sending Washington a message: We have other suppliers.

“Military aid,” though, is a tricky term. In this case, it means that Washington gives Egypt a grant of more than $1 billion a year to buy American-made tanks, jets, and armored personnel carriers. If aid is suspended, American military industries take the hit. Thus, the economic implications of a U.S.-Egypt fallout may be as worrying to some as the geopolitical implications. 

Amy Hawthorne, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, thinks Egypt’s purchase is mostly about French economics. The defense sector is an important part of France’s struggling economy. Egypt’s $5.9 billion purchase could offer France an important boost. Hawthorne says the terms of the deal suggest that if Egypt should default on the loan for the weapons, the French government will cover the cost. 

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