Recently, someone posted on the Internet a series of pilfered top-secret Pentagon documents. One of those documents that I found particularly piquant was about the Egyptian government’s plan to manufacture 40,000 rockets that would then be supplied – sold — to Russia, for use in its war with Ukraine. That, of course, is a betrayal of Cairo’s American ally, which is doing everything it can to help Ukraine win its war against Russia. Meanwhile, Cairo continues to receive nearly $1.2 billion in annual aid from its generous American ally, making it the third largest recipient of American aid, after Israel (a real ally), and Jordan (a quasi-ally).
More on the Janus-faced two-timing Egyptians can be found here: “Egypt secretly planned to supply rockets to Russia, leaked U.S. document says,” by Evan Hill, Missy Ryan, Siobhán O’Grady and Samuel Oakford, Washington Post, April 11, 2023:
Egypt has long been a major recipient of American military and economic aid. Since 1978 it has received a total of $80 billion dollars — $50 billion in economic aid, and $30 billion in military aid. Yet Cairo was willing to undermine our support for Ukraine by covertly supplying Russia with 40,000 rockets for its ongoing war in Ukraine, according to a leaked top-secret Pentagon document cited by The Washington Post on Monday [April 10].
A portion of the document, dated February 17, was said to describe conversations between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and senior Egyptian military officials on the production of some 40,000 rockets for Russia, as well as the provision of artillery rounds and gunpowder.
In it, the Egyptian leader reportedly instructed an official referenced [sic] as Salah al-Din to to keep the plan secret “to avoid problems with the West,” to which the latter — believed to be Mohamed Salah al-Din, the minister of state for military production — said he would tell workers the rockets were for the Egyptian army.
Egypt planned to keep secret this supplying Russia with 40,000 rockets. But how likely was it to have succeeded? Wouldn’t American satellites pick up the transport and delivery of such a huge amount of very large weapons to the Russians, or be able to track their transfer from Russia to its soldiers bogged down in the eastern Ukraine? Wouldn’t Ukrainian soldiers themselves ave noticed these new rockets being hurled at them in such numbers? Wouldn’t they collect the remains of these rockets, handing tghem over to the Americans who could better identify the source of these rockets? Oh, dear, General Abdel Fattah El-Sissi. How could you have thought you would be able to get away with it? What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
Salah al-Din, the report said, told Sissi that supplying Russia with the weapons was “the least Egypt could do to repay Russia for unspecified help earlier,” though the details of any earlier collaboration were not mentioned.
Naturally one wonders what else Egypt has been hiding from us.What was it that the Russians did for Egypt that led Salah al-Din to say that supplying those rockets was “the least Egypt could do to repay Russia for unspecified help earlier”? Did Russia supply Egypt with weapons recently? Has Egypt perhaps begun its own, still incipient, nuclear program which Russian experts have helped to get off the ground? Perhaps the Russian spy network in Israel has been supplying Egypt with information on Israeli battle plans on its various fronts, including a possible invasion of Israel from the Sinai, or from Israel into the Sinai.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has significantly harmed Egypt’s access to Ukrainian wheat, which the north African country relied on for 80 percent of its imports. Subsequently, Cairo has turned to Moscow for help, perhaps indicating a strengthening in relations between the two countries at a time when Russia faces significant isolation from the West.
The intelligence leak was part of a steady drip of dozens of photographs of highly sensitive US documents that have been found on Twitter, Telegram, Discord, and other sites in recent days, though some may have circulated online for weeks, if not months, before they began to receive media attention….
Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat-Connecticut), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations committees, said that “Egypt is one of our oldest allies in the Middle East… If it’s true that Sissi is covertly building rockets for Russia that could be used in Ukraine, we need to have a serious reckoning about the state of our relationship.”
Sarah Margon, director of US foreign policy at the Open Society Foundations once-nominated by the Biden administration for a human rights role in the US State Department, said that if the leaked report proved accurate, the supply of rockets from Cairo to Moscow was “beyond the pale, especially for an ostensibly close US ally.”
The Biden administration has been increasingly troubled by Egypt’s suppression of civil society as the country wades through an ever-intensifying economic crisis.
In September, the US said it would withhold a portion of its more than $1.3 billion annual security payment to Egypt, citing Cairo’s poor human rights record.
On September 14, the Biden administration announced that it was cutting $130 million in its military aid to Egypt, a way of signaling its displeasure at Egypt’s human rights violations.
Egypt, for its part, has also experienced frustration with US demands placed on Cairo and has likely turned to alternative global powers like Russia in a bid to create greater leverage over the US.
Even though Egypt in the end did not supply the 40,000 rockets to Russia, it was not out of any moral qualms about helping the Russian aggressor, or a sudden desire to stay true to its generous ally, the United States. The plan was possibly too ambitious, beyond the capability of Egyptian weapons manufacturers and scientists. Whatever the reason, Egypt’s attempt to deceive its Washington benefactor, that has lavished $80 billion in money and weapons on it since 1979, deserves a response that will also serve as a salutary warning to others thinking of such double-dealing collaboration with Russia. On September 14, the Biden administration cut $130 million from the military aid it was scheduled to supply to Egypt; this amounted to 10% of the total aid package of $1.3 billion. This was a way to express the administration’s unhappiness with Egypt’s record on human rights. But Egypt’s attempt to deceive the U.S. and supply rockets to Russia, thereby undermining what, at the moment, is Washington’s most important foreign policy objective — a Ukrainian victory — is much more grave. Surely, the administration should consider ending all of its military aid to Egypt, while keeping the economic aid intact.
Washington must get to the bottom of this tale of the 40,000 rockets Egypt had originally planned to supply to its secret Russian friend. Let’s find out what Russia had done before for Egypt that merited this belated response of 40,000 rockets. If the Bidenites won’t show a willingness to look into this, then the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should investigate the matter. If Egypt continues to dismiss the story as nonsense and lies, America should stop being a patsy and slash its aid, at the very least, by fully half of what was originally pledged. That should get the attention of a great many recipients of American aid, all around this giddy globe.