Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The US Arms Industry and the People's Revolt in
By Paul J Balles
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 8, 2011
Paul J. Balles comments on the USA’s ambivalent line on the
people’s revolution in Egypt. He argues that although the administration has
a growing fear that a government hostile to Washington could gain control
Egypt, “the unspoken fear is that American arms manufacturers will lose a
“The military was greeted warmly on the
streets of Cairo. Crowds roared with approval as one soldier was carried
through Tahrir Square today holding a flower in his hand,” reports Democracy
Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
He speaks of "a great
sense of pride that this is a leaderless movement organized by the people. A
genuine popular revolt. It was not organized by opposition movements, though
they have now joined the protesters in Tahrir."
“US military aid to Egypt has been spent primarily on
strengthening the regime’s ‘domestic security’ and its
ability to confront popular movements.”
According to Abdel Kouddous, "The Muslim Brotherhood was out in full
force today. At one point they began chanting “Allah Akbar” only to be
drowned out by much louder chants of “Muslim, Christian, we are all
What he describes, reflected in the TV coverage, is truly a “people’s
revolution”. Will it play out that way? So far, the main concern of the
protesters has been to get rid of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s
“president”-cum-dictator for the past 30 years.
The US has kept
Mubarak in power, giving his regime 1.5 billion dollars in aid last year –
mainly because he supported America’s pro-Israel policies, especially by
helping Israel to maintain its stranglehold on Gaza.
Egypt has been
the number-two recipient (after Israel) of US foreign aid. In both 2009 and
2010, the economic aid amounted to 250 million dollars while military aid
reached 1.3 billion dollars.
US military aid to Egypt has been spent
primarily on strengthening the regime’s “domestic security” and its ability
to confront popular movements.
In a report for the Carnegie
Foundation on US aid to Egypt, Ahmad al-Sayed El-Naggar asks: "Why don’t
Egyptians notice the role of American aid to their country? The simple
answer is that US economic aid to Egypt, which amounted to 455 million
dollars in 2007, translated to only 6 dollars per capita.”
“The US has no reason to begrudge the amounts of military
aid to Egypt. Much of it goes back to American defence
It was even less in 2010 when the total economic aid of 200 million
dollars could provide less than 3 dollars per capita income. The people have
suffered poverty while Mubarak supported his army and the US
The US has no reason to begrudge the amounts of military aid to Egypt.
Much of it goes back to American defence contractors. Lockheed Martin
received a 213 million contract for 20 new F-16s for Egypt in March 2010,
boasted the company
on its website.
BAE Systems, General Dynamics, General Electric,
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have all done business with the Egyptian
government, selling tanks, fighter jets, howitzers and radar arrays to its
Meanwhile, half the people of Egypt live on less than 2
dollars a day. Is it any wonder that they have taken to the streets in
When the tanks rolled into Cairo, some protesters climbed on
them to a friendly reception by the soldiers. A couple of noisy fighter jets
swooped threateningly overhead, but the protesters and the army remained
friendly. Throughout the day people chanted: “The people, the army: one
That wasn’t the case when the police and the security forces
threw tear gas canisters with labels “Made in America” into the crowds. The
security police have represented much of what the Egyptian people have come
to hate about Mubarak.
Meanwhile, the US administration has been
waffling when asked whether they support the Egyptian public or Mubarak.
Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, stressed that Egypt's future lies
in the hands of its people, hewing to the administration line of refusing to
take sides publicly.
However, the administration has a growing fear that a government hostile
to the US could gain control of such a large and important Arab nation.
The unspoken fear is that American arms manufacturers will lose a