Report: Egyptian Missile Program Still Underway
Egypt has obtained components for guidance systems from German companies in a renewed effort to complete a medium-range ballistic missile, reported the Middle East Newsline (MENL) on Tuesday.
European intelligence sources said the Egyptian orders were placed over the last year, with the latest one submitted in February.
They said the Egyptian government bought the components from Germany through front companies.
According to the report, the missile transaction was traced by both European and US intelligence services, the sources told MENL.
They said the components were delivered from Germany to Japan, where the shipment disappeared. They said the components were sent to North Korea for modification, and are now believed to be in Egypt.
"This can be regarded as a serious effort by Egypt to finish its missile program," an intelligence source said.
"The Egyptians can't get these components through their regular suppliers, so they turned to the Germans," he told MENL.
Egypt is said to be pursuing several medium and intermediate-range ballistic missile programs, some of them launched in the late 1980s, according to the report.
These include the Project T missile, with a range of 450 kilometers, the Al Bader with a range of up to 900 kilometers, and the Vector missile, with a range of up to 1,200 kilometers.
The Al Bader was based on the Condor missile in a program that was launched with Argentina and Iraq, the report added.
But the United States pressured Argentina to withdraw from the program in the early 1990s and the United Nations embargo prevented Iraq from participating in the missile development.
The intelligence sources said Egypt had been receiving missile components from two unidentified German companies until about 1994.
Over the last year, Egypt has renewed contacts with the German firms.
For its part, Egypt acknowledged last week that President Hosni Mubarak was under pressure from the United States regarding Cairo's alleged missile cooperation with North Korea and Russia, MENL noted last week.
Egyptian government sources said Mubarak was pressed in Washington regarding US intelligence reports that Cairo was cooperating with North Korea in the development of medium and intermediate-range missiles.
The sources said “Mubarak was also questioned regarding Egyptian plans to launch missile cooperation with Russia" during his visit last month to Washington.
According to the news service, this was the first time Mubarak had been directly asked whether Egypt maintained missile cooperation with North Korea.
But Mubarak dismissed the reports as "rumors," MENL said in a previous report.
"We are not dealing with North Korea," Mubarak was quoted as saying.
"Why are you making this propaganda against us? I cannot understand this. Anyway, I'm used to it. Before every visit, I hear so many rumors. But I don't care because I am sure of what I'm doing," Mubarak told reporters at the end of his visit to Washington.
For years, reports released by the CIA failed to even mention Egypt's missile development, the news service said.
US officials had said the questions to Mubarak come amid efforts by the Egyptian president to secure a formal strategic alliance with Washington – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)