Egypt

The U.S.: Helping Egyptians Help American Military Contractors Help Themselves

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Stephen Smith blogged the other week here at Hit and Run about how the unrest in Egypt was having no effect on the flow of U.S. military aid. The Boston Globe the other week gave some more specifics on who benefits from U.S. aid:

United States taxpayers have funneled more than $60 billion of aid into Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981, but more than half of the money has been spent supplying weapons to the country's military…

About $34 billion of the aid to Egypt has come in the form of grants that Congress requires Egypt to spend on American military hardware, according to statistics from the Congressional Research Service. Those contracts include helicopter engines built by GE Aviation in Lynn and transmitters for Egypt's Navy built byRaytheon in Tewksbury….

But there is certainly no need for an Egyptian revolution to mean any revolution in the ways the U.S. funnels money to domestic munitions interests while adding firepower to the Mideast powderkeg, say Esteemed Experts:

 Edward Djerejian, a former senior State Department official whose specialty was the Middle East, said the special military relationship with Egypt should continue, as long as a new government abides by democratic process and respects its international obligations, including the peace treaty with Israel

"We don't know what the composition of the next government will be, so it's difficult to make any decision on US aid until we see it," Djerejian said. "I think it is critically important that our aid to the Egyptian military continue, because the military, as we have seen, is really the pillar of law and order and stability in Egypt."

Because of course domestic military policy doesn't end at the water's edge, folks!

Shifting away from the massive military aid package to Egypt would be an uphill battle on Capitol Hill, because billions of dollars for the US defense industry, and American jobs, are at stake.

The Staple Singers do Dylan's "Masters of War:"