In recent years, Egypt has stepped up arms purchases to strengthen its military capabilities, in a geographic area considered to be security sensitive. To this end, its military cooperation with the United States has strengthened, particularly under President Donald Trump. Egypt will buy $ 197 million worth of weapons from the United States.
In a statement released on February 16, 2021, the US Defense and Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the sale agreement has been approved by the US State Department. The new contract is for the purchase of 168 RIM-116C Tactical Rolling Cell Missiles (RAM) Block 2 as well as shipping and storage containers for the RAM Guided Missile Round Pack Tri-Pack.
In addition, there are user manuals and technical documentation; US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related logistical and program support elements. According to the American authorities, the missiles will be used to equip the fast missile ships of the Egyptian navy. This will expand the defense zone for the country’s naval forces, especially beyond coastal areas and around the Suez Canal.
This arms sale is the Biden administration’s first to Egypt.
A privileged partner of Washington DC in northern Africa, Cairo had stepped up arms purchase contracts with the administration of former President Donald Trump. However, many human rights activists have often criticized these agreements because of the repeated human rights violations documented in the land of the Pharaohs. Its president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had also been accused of using arms bought from France against its own citizens. While President Joe Biden has always presented himself as a defender of human rights and freedoms, this new sale shows that this subject does not necessarily risk undermining his trade relations with Cairo.
“This proposed sale will support United States foreign and national security policy by helping to improve the security of an important non-NATO allied country which continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East,” said indicated the release of the DSCA. Recall that in May 2020, the Trump administration approved an agreement to provide Egypt with equipment for the refurbishment of 43 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, for an estimated amount of $ 2.3 billion. dollars.
Source Ecofin Agency