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US military aid to post-Morsi Egypt hits delay
Four F-16 fighter jets were scheduled to fly to Egypt on Tuesday morning as part of a U.S. military aid package worth more than $1 billion a year — but the shipment has run into delays over apparent “political” issues. If the Obama administration is able to send the planes, it will mark the first known military aid to Egypt since millions of Egyptians protested the rule of Mohammed Morsi, leading the Egyptian military to remove him from power earlier this month.
Supporters say that such aid is critical because it gives the U.S. influence over the Egyptian military. But critics say it is a waste of money, or worse, a gift of weapons that could later be turned against American interests.
The shipment has now been delayed at least 24 hours due to “political reasons,” according to a source who works on the naval air base in Fort Worth, Texas, from where the planes were being sent.
“Given the current situation in Egypt we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” spokesman George Little told reporters.
Previous statements from officials at the State Department in April defended the aid by hinting at differences of opinion between the Egyptian military and Morsi’s government.
“The Egyptian military has long had cordial ties with Israel and is a pillar of support for the peace treaty within the Egyptian Government,” one said.
“For the past 30 years, the F-16 aircraft has been a key component of the relationship between the United States military and the Egyptian Armed Forces,” the statement continued.