The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is opposing the recently announced sale of U.S. 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks, among the most advanced in the world, to the new Egyptian government, pointing to the negative developments in Egypt this year that indicate that is Egypt becoming quickly and increasingly an American enemy, not an ally. This is the first arms sale to Egypt to be announced since the political turmoil and change of regime in Cairo earlier this year. The deal, which requires the approval of Congress, would increase the number of Abrams tanks in Egypt from around 1,000 to 1,130.
Egypt is increasingly under the sway of radical anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic forces, especially the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the only real political opposition permitted to function in any from previously and thus the best organized. Created in 1928 by Hassan El-Banna, the Brotherhood allied itself with Hitler and incubated Islamism in the Middle East. Its leaders and thinkers, like Sayyid Qutb, were the precursors of Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Last year, its new leader, Muhammad Badi, spoke of the virtues of jihad and a state based on Islamic law, while euphorically declaring that the U.S. is heading towards its demise. He has called for Palestinians to end negotiations with Israel and for Egypt to shred its peace treaty with Jerusalem something his second-in-command, Rashad Al-Bayoumi, emphasized again earlier this year as being a priority for the Brotherhood in joining a future government.
Worse, even secular Egyptian secular political forces are showing enormous hostility to both the U.S. and Israel. Ahmed Ezz El-Arab, a vice chairman of Egypt’s top secular party – the Wafd Party, recently said that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were made in the USA, that Osama bin Laden was an American agent, and that the Holocaust is a lie. Last month, the Wafd party announced it would run jointly in September’s parliamentary elections with the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to the notification to Congress, Egypt would receive 125 tanks, parts of which would be produced in Egypt, as well as M256 Armament Systems, M2 .50 caliber machine guns, 7.62mm machine guns, spare parts, maintenance, support equipment, personnel training and other related elements of logistics and program support. The Defense Department has asserted that the sale of the tanks would contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.
Israel has in the past lobbied Congress against specific arms deals to Egypt. In the past few years, Egypt has purchased 24 F-16 fighter jets, Hellfire missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, TOW anti-tank missiles, Chinook transport helicopters and Apache attack helicopters (Yaakov Katz, Despite revolution, US set to approve tank sales to Egypt, Jerusalem Post, July 8, 2011).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, This latest announced arms sale to Egypt is irresponsible. While it is true that the army retains significant power in Egypt for the moment, it is also clear that it is increasingly sharing that power with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
Until now, Egypt has been the recipient of the finest U.S. weaponry on the assumption that these would not be used to threaten or attack Israel. Now, however, we see Egypt headed for a much more hostile posture. We see a constellation of political forces that are virulently hostile to the U.S., Israel and Jews.
In these circumstances, there should be no further arms sales to Egypt. To authorize a new major arms sale to Egypt, so soon after President Obamas ill-advised support for the replacement of the Mubarak regime and before there is any certainty regarding the continuation of Egypt as a minimally peace-abiding U.S. ally, shows great foolishness and ineptitude.
Even if Egypt were still ruled by the Mubarak regime, which at least maintained elements of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and cooperated with the U.S. in fighting Islamist terror groups, it would have been unwise to automatically supply fresh arms without, for example, obtaining from Cairo greater fidelity with the terms of the Egyptian/Israeli peace treaty and support in other areas. But it makes positively no sense now to liberally supply Cairo with the best American arms when we have every indication that our former lukewarm ally is becoming an active enemy.
The ZOA calls upon Congress to oppose this arms sale to Egypt with all its might.