Bush Administration Keeps US Military Aid to Egypt Intact
Informed sources in Washington say President George W. Bush has succeeded in aborting attempts in Congress to slash US military aid to Egypt by $100 million, according to the daily Al Gumhouriyyah.
“The congressional attempt was based on alleged information about an Egyptian program to develop a medium-range missile, the No Dong, being carried out in collaboration with North Korea,” the Middle East News Line (MENL) said in an online report on Tuesday, as quoted by the daily.
The intact aid package for Egypt comes out to $1.3 billion, said MENL.
Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied allegations about the missile development program, which has caused friction in relations with the US.
Meanwhile, US administration officials said they had convinced Congress that any cut in aid to Egypt at present would hurt American interests, particularly in view of escalating violence in the Middle East. The officials said that Egypt was still perceived as a key element in preventing an Arab-Israeli war.
“I believe it is wise to hold a strong thing when a storm blows. I think we have strong ties with Egypt,” a top US Defense Department official said, according to the report
The US pro-Israel lobby, ranked the fourth most powerful in Washington by the business magazine Fortune, has been mobilizing lawmakers to fight the transfer of arms to Egypt, which the Jewish state sees as a potential foe – Albawaba.com