|July 11, 2013
The US still intends to deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, even after the army toppled the Islamist president there. The news comes as White House is still not sure of how to label Morsi’s ousting, fostering anger among Egyptians.
Senior American officials confirm they aren’t putting on hold the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Egypt. It’s part of an earlier agreement to send 20 such planes to the Arab country. Cairo already received eight of them in January. Four more are to be supplied within the next several weeks, and the rest to be delivered by the end of the year.
“We don’t think it would be in the best interests of the United States to change the assistance program quickly or immediately,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Currently, US aid to Egypt is estimated at $1.5 billion annually, with the bigger part of the package – $1.3 billion – going to the armed forces. That makes Egypt one of the world’s largest recipients of US aid, which began flowing following the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
Washington has so far been reluctant to deem the Egyptian overhaul a ‘coup’ – since that would bar assistance to the volatile state – although President Obama says the aid program should be reviewed and Pentagon echoes the White House.
“Given the events of last week, the president has directed relevant departments and agencies to review our assistance to the government of Egypt,” the Pentagon’s Wednesday statement said.
Supporters of Morsi, protesting his removal, appear to carry anti-Obama posters, with new ones being printed each day.
“I think America is dealing with things in double standards,” Dina Zakariya, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter, says.
And there’s equally no joy for Washington even from people who want to live in the States. Mohammed Alaa holds both American and Egyptian citizenships. Two months ago he sold up – ready to trade Cairo for Texas. He feels Washington is too deeply embroiled in internal Egyptian politics and pulls the strings from afar.
“I have no problem with American people, I have a problem with American politics that tries to interfere with the way we want to live and that is not right,” Alaa says.
The anti-American feeling was there long before the recent uprising. The May report of the Washington-based Pew Research Center concludes that about eight out of 10 Egyptians are negative towards the US, with just 16 percent having a positive attitude towards the United States.
When it comes to President Obama, nearly three-quarters are unhappy with the way he handles American foreign affairs. That sentiment’s been strong since the day Obama took office back in 2009.
Egyptians are also pessimistic about their country’s dependence on US financial and military aid with more than half of the population saying it is harming Egypt.