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Egypt: US goes ahead with F-16 delivery despite domestic tensions

US says it will continue giving assistance to country as overthrow of Mohamed Morsi was not a coup

The United States still plans to go through with the delivery of four F16 fighter jets to Egypt in the coming weeks, even after the Egyptian military's removal of Mohamed Morsi.

Washington has been careful not to describe the overthrow of Morsi as a coup and says it needs time to consider the situation.

If the US did decide that Morsi's removal was a coup, it would be required by law to halt aid to Egypt's military, which receives much of the $1.5 billion the US gives annually to the country.

The four F16 jets, built by US manufacturer Lockheed Martin, are a part of the aid package.

"There is no current change in the plan to deliver F-16s to the Egyptian military," said an anonymous US source.

Asked about the F16s, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "It's our view that we should not ... hastily change our aid programs."

The Pentagon has issued a statement echoing President Barack Obama's comments that he has ordered a review of US assistance to Egypt. Asked whether Obama's review had put the F-16 delivery on hold, a US official said: "The delivery remains scheduled as planned."

Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's biggest supplier, and a key part of the US military-industrial complex, declined to comment.

Egypt was the first Arab country to buy F16s, and has received massive amounts of military aid from the US since it signed a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, despite a questionable record on human rights.

Another eight F16s are due to be delivered in December. The jets are part of a package of 20 F16s, of which eight have already been delivered.


A nation divided: The various players

The military

Led by the Defence Minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the military has shown that it is Egypt’s most powerful institution and that ultimately it holds the balance of power. The army’s decision to remove President Morsi last week was one that only it could have taken – despite evidence that it has shot protesters, many Egyptians are still looking to the army to restore order.


If it was the military that ultimately removed Mr Morsi, the protests that led to the army’s intervention were led by Tamarod, a grassroots movement that took to the streets on 30 June to demand the former President’s removal from office. After garnering the support of millions of Egyptians, it was Tamarod that gave Mr Morsi the ultimatum: leave or face crippling civil disobedience.

Adli Mansour

After removing the democratically elected Mr Morsi, the army appointed Mr Mansour – the head of the supreme constitutional court – as Egypt’s new interim President. He has praised the protests and told those on the streets that he won’t allow any tyrants to replace him, but his words have done little to quell the anger on the streets.

Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood

On the face of it, President Morsi represented all that was good about the 2011 revolution – he was Egypt’s first democratically elected President, he had a mandate from the people and an organised political base. However, his year in office was plagued by accusations that he had concentrated power in the hands of his party. Mr Morsi is under house arrest and about 50 of his supporters were killed on Monday in clashes with the army.

Mohamed ElBaradei and the National Salvation Front

Mr El Baradei – the former head of UN’s nuclear agency – has been a prominent player in post-revolution Egypt and had been tipped to be head the new interim government having organised a loose alliance of liberal parties. His appointment was blocked, however, by al-Nour, the only Salafist group to have sided with last week’s coup; he has instead been appointed Vice-President with the economist Hazem el Beblawi appointed Prime Minister.

Saudi Arabia and UAE pledge $8bn in aid

Egypt has received two pledges of significant financial aid as its political crisis continued.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – who lauded the armed forces chief General Abdel Fatah el-Sisi for helping Egypt escape from “a dark tunnel” in the aftermath of Mohamed Morsi’s removal – has approved a $5bn (£3.4bn) package comprising a $2bn central bank deposit, $2bn in energy products and $1bn in cash.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which also professed its “satisfaction” at the toppling of Mr Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, has promised a total of $3bn in grants and interest-free loans. The UAE claims the Brotherhood has supported Islamist groups attempting to oust its Western-backed leadership. King Abdullah personally called General Sisi on Friday to stress his support for Egypt’s new rulers.