Russian Officials Come To Egypt, Reportedly To Negotiate Arms Deal

Egyptian tankRussian officials are
reportedly in Egypt
to negotiate an arms deal in what the BBC
is describing as “the highest level visit to Egypt by a Russian
delegation in years.”

Last month, the U.S.
suspended some of its military aid
to Egypt following the
military-backed government’s crackdown on supporters of ousted
President Morsi, who was removed from power by the military, a move
which the Obama administration has resisted
calling a coup

The suspension of aid was a significant change in U.S policy
towards Egypt. According to the Congressional
Research Service
, “Between 1948 and 2011, the United States
provided Egypt with a total of $71.6 billion in bilateral foreign
aid, including $1.3 billion a year in military aid from 1987 to the

The meeting between Russian and Egyptian officials is an
indication that the military-backed Egyptian government may be able
to enjoy a huge amount of foreign military aid without the U.S.
Despite the fact that the meeting comes after some American
military aid to Egypt was suspended, Russian foreign
minister Sergei
has claimed that Russia is not looking to replace “any

However, political analyst Samir Ghattas told
that the Obama administration’s changing relationship
with Egypt has prompted Egyptian officials to revive relations with

Samir Ghattas: “The policies of the United States have caused
serious unease and confusion in the Middle East and in Egypt in
particular, especially after the overthrow of the Muslim
Brotherhood regime. That led to new policies from the US towards
Egypt like pressure on the army and reducing economic and military
aid after a while.

“As a result, Egypt has sought out new relations or to be more
precise, revived its old relations with different regions of the
world, especially with the Russian Federation and maybe later with
China, India and other rising powers.

“I suspect that there is also a need to develop economic
relations between the two countries, given that Russia is a big
exporter of wheat, which Egypt desperately needs.

If Russia and Egypt do agree to an arms deal, which could be
worth up to $2 billion, it would be the latest example of Russia
extending its influence in the Middle East and being a nuisance for
American policy-makers.

Russia has been one of the Assad regime’s strongest allies
throughout the civil war in Syria and has, along with China,
prevented the United Nations Security Council from imposing

on Syria while also providing the Assad regime with

financial support

Last year, Russia sealed an arms deal with Iraq worth
more than $4.2 billion
, a move Bloomberg described as “a
challenge to the Middle Eastern country’s military ties with the

Outside of the Middle East, Russia has granted
temporary asylum
to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, a
decision that contributed to Obama canceling
a meeting
with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to
, Egypt is looking to an unnamed country in the
Persian Gulf to help finance a deal to purchase Russian

Egyptian officials are seeking financing from an unidentified
Persian Gulf country to buy as much as $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 $12 billion to
Egypt’s new government.

The news of the meeting between Russian and Egyptian officials
comes soon after
it was reported
that the U.S. would no longer be buying Mi-17
helicopters from Moscow-based exporter Rosoboronexport.  

Egypt may have enjoyed significant American military support in
the past, but recent events suggest that Russia is ready and
willing to take America’s place and become a significant arms donor
to the military-backed government, a move that would contribute to
more frustration at the State Department.

from Hit & Run

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