US gives 4 more F-16 fighter jets to Egyptian government despite outcry
Four more F-16 fighter jets left the U.S. on Thursday headed for Egypt as part of a foreign aid package that has generated controversy given the political upheaval in the Mideast country.
Critics say the military aid should stop because the president Egyptians elected last year has led the Muslim Brotherhood, called President Obama liar and urged that hatred of Jews be instilled in children.
A source who works on the naval air base in Fort Worth, Texas, confirmed to FoxNews.com the departure of the state-of-the-art fighter planes. The new shipment brings the total number of F-16 jets given to Egypt this year to 12.
Eight more F-16s will be given to the Egyptian government before the end of the year as part of a billion-dollar foreign aid deal signed in 2010 with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime U.S. ally. The U.S. also will send 200 Abrams tanks.
Critics, including several in Congress, say it doesn't make sense to follow through with the package. While current Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi has toned down his rhetoric since his election last summer, in 2010 Morsi attacked Obama for supporting Israel.
"One American president after another — and most recently, that Obama — talks about American guarantees for the safety of the Zionists in Palestine," Morsi, then a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Egyptian TV in reaction to Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo. "[Obama] was very clear when he uttered his empty words on the land of Egypt. He uttered many lies.”
In the comments translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Morsi also urged that children be taught to hate Jews.
"Dear brothers, we must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them," he said in 2010. "They must be nursed on hatred. The hatred must continue.”
Some in Congress worry that the F-16 gift betrays America’s friendship with Israel.
"Friends don't send U.S. taxpayer- funded F-16s and tanks to the enemies of their friends,” Rep. Gohmert, R-Texas, told FoxNews.com.
The State Department declined to comment on the specific movement of any military equipment, but officials released a statement to FoxNews.com defending the United States' "strategic" ties to Egypt, "with whom we have a long history of close political-military relations that have benefited key U.S. interests."
The statement also noted that U.S. military cooperation supports the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
"The Egyptian military has long had cordial ties with Israel and is a pillar of support for the peace treaty within the Egyptian Government," the statement said. "We are committed to maintaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge in the region. These F-16s represent no threat to Israel because Israel has more advanced aircraft and weapons than the F-16."
But some security experts say that aid to Egypt will simply prop up a bad regime.
"U.S. aid packages limit, rather than leverage, Washington’s ability to extract meaningful concessions from Cairo on democratic reform. Sending arms conveys a tacit indifference to Morsi’s authoritarian tendencies, including its harassment and intimidation of regime critics," said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute.
She added that America also can’t afford the spending.
"American taxpayers have been Egypt’s major arms supplier, subsidizing the supply of F-16 jet fighters, M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, and hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus military equipment."
In addition, the U.S. government also paid at least $83 million to upgrade facilities and provide training at the Egyptian military's "Cairo West Air Base" to accommodate the new F-16s.
Some security experts say the spending is worth it.
"I think this is the only way to ensure the stability of the Camp David Accords (the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.) Is that worth it? Yes,” Anthony Cordesman, who has served as a consultant for the State and Defense departments and who holds the Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told FoxNews.com.
The planes themselves, he said, are less important than the message they send.
"Canceling a few F-16s isn't going to be a game changer in itself, but it’d change perceptions in the Arab world. They would see how quickly the U.S. could turn away when there’s a crisis," Cordesman said.
The statement from State Department officials also warned that revoking the aid could have disastrous consequences.
"Delaying or canceling deliveries of the F-16 aircraft would undermine our efforts to address our regional security interests through a more capable Egyptian military and send a damaging and lasting signal to Egypt's civilian and military leadership as we work toward a democratic transition in this key Middle Eastern state," the statement said.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/11/us-gives-4-more-f-16-fighter-jets-to-egyptian-government/#ixzz2QFG5hS2B
AFRICANGLOBE – In the coming years, Egypt and Ethiopia may be forced to fight a "water war” because Ethiopia’s ambitions contradict Egypt’s "historical and legal rights” in the Nile waters. Ethiopia can only be deterred by the regional and international balance of powers, which in recent years has favored Ethiopia.
For any Egyptian government, Egypt’s water share and securing the Nile’s headwaters are the top national security priorities, irrespective of the Egyptian government’s ideology or domestic policies. This fact is dictated by geography. For thousands of years, Egyptian rulers have been aware how important water is for Egypt. Water is the lifeline of Egypt (97.5% of Egypt is barren desert). Egyptian rulers have always used any means to defend their country’s historic rights to the Nile waters.
As Greek historian Herodotus said, "Egypt is the gift of the Nile.” Egyptian civilization, which is one of history’s greatest civilizations, depends on the Nile. To illustrate the Nile’s importance, we should remember that Egypt is the largest desert oasis in the world. Life in Egypt is concentrated on the river banks where 90 million people live. In short, any Egyptian government should have one eye on the Horn of Africa — on Ethiopia, where the source of the Nile lies — and another eye on the Sinai Peninsula and the Levant, and the balance of power there. History has shown that most of Egypt’s invaders entered through that door.
Egypt’s sentries against the country’s internal and external foes have been sleeping on the job. Their first eye failed to notice the developments at the Blue Nile’s source in Ethiopia (the Blue Nile constitutes 86% and the White Nile 14% of the Nile water volume. The two tributaries meet in Sudan before flowing to Egypt). Their second eye had lost the ability to distinguish friend from foe. Now, with the worsening economic crisis and the political deterioration between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition, the balance of power is more and more tilting toward Ethiopia, which may unilaterally increase its water usage. That will affect Egypt’s "historic rights” of the Nile water and cause a serious threat.
In the report below, we will try to shed light on the Nile conflict and on why Ethiopia’s negotiating position toward Egypt has improved. We will end with a recommendation.
The Conflict Over the Nile Waters
The two groups fighting over the right waters are as follows: the first group are the downstream countries, it includes Egypt and Sudan. The other group are the upstream countries which includes Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya.
Egypt depends on the Nile River for 95% of its water needs for drinking, agriculture and electricity generation. The growing Egyptian population is increasingly dependent on Nile water. Egypt has historical rights to these waters under the Nile Water Agreement signed with Britain in 1929. It gave Egypt the right to veto any project in upstream countries affecting Egypt’s share of water flowing to it. It is worth mentioning that the 1929 agreement is binding for the three upstream countries — Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda — on the grounds that Britain, which colonized these countries, was their legal representative and could sign binding international agreements on their behalf.
Egypt codified its legal status in an agreement with Sudan in 1959. The agreement gave Cairo 55.5 billion cubic meters of water (or 66% of the total water flow), which would go to the Aswan Dam, and Sudan received 18.5 billion cubic meters (22%). The remainder, 12%, is lost to evaporation, other African countries get none.
The downstream countries argue that they were not a party to those agreements at the time, and therefore do not recognize their legitimacy. The upstream countries want to modify the water-sharing agreement and keep more of the water by building dams, which will directly affect the water share of the downstream states, Egypt and Sudan.
The problem is compounded by the projected large population increase in the Nile basin. The UN projects that the population in the 11 basin states will reach 860 million people by 2050. This is pressuring both sides to try to improve their positions in the conflict over the Nile waters.
In May 2010, Ethiopia drafted the Entebbe Agreement to modify the historical and legal basis for the sharing of water. Most upstream countries supported the agreement but Egypt and Sudan refused it. It is true that the Entebbe Agreement is not legally binding for Egypt and Sudan, but it does show that Ethiopia is aware of the balance of power and its ambition to impose facts on the ground regarding the construction of dams, which will necessarily affect Egypt’s share in the Nile waters and thus represent an existential threat to Egypt. It is true that Ethiopia cannot force Cairo to sign, but the Entebbe Agreement shows that a major crisis between Cairo and Addis Ababa is on the way. What follows is an explanation of the Ethiopian diplomatic attack on Egypt and Sudan.