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The Military-Industrial Complex Is Being Exported to Egypt

March 1, 2013 in Economics

By Malou Innocent

Malou Innocent

It’s almost impossible to escape the Washington establishment’s hysteria over sequestration—the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts, a less than 2.3 percent reduction of the $3.64 trillion federal budget. Despite all the overwrought rhetoric about what the sequester will mean for military spending—described as “devastating,” a “doomsday scenario,” and even a “hollowing out of the force“—few Americans know where their hard-earned tax dollars are going, and whether or not such spending is absolutely necessary. Among the many spendthrift federal programs is the American taxpayers’ multidecade subsidy to Egypt’s military.

Excluding economic and development assistance, since 1987, Washington has given Cairo $1.3 billion a year in military aid.”

Excluding economic and development assistance, since 1987, Washington has given Cairo $1.3 billion a year in military aid, much of it in grants and loans through Foreign Military Financing. Under Foreign Military Financing, U.S. arms manufacturers contract with the Defense Department to provide Egypt with military weapons systems and services, upgrades, and follow-on maintenance. According to the Congressional Research Service, although figures are hard to verify, it is estimated that U.S. military aid covers as much as 80 percent of the Egyptian Defense Ministry’s weapons procurement costs.

That ample assistance has enabled Egypt to become the fourth-largest operator of F-16s, and to acquire some 4,000 battle tanks. In fact, U.S. taxpayers help facilitate the coproduction of the M1A1 Abrams Battle Tank—and now the new M1A2 tank—of which some parts are made in Egypt, and some are produced in America, which are then shipped to Egypt for final assembly. Under the terms of the program, the main contractor is General Dynamics in Sterling Heights, Mich..

A week before President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, Sue Sturgis, of the Institute for Southern Studies, compiled an exhaustive list of defense companies and consulting firms with deals related to Egypt, they include: