When the people of Egypt decided to overthrow its (allegedly) democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi through a military coup, the United States was not pleased.
Never mind that Morsi, during his exceptionally short 11-month tenure as president, tore up the old constitution and began replacing it with a strict Islamist document that would hurtle Egypt back through time, negating any progress in the area of human and equal rights.
Nope. Obama and his crowd was not interested in punishing Morsi, an anti-West, anti-modernity Egyptian leader who had attained power through the revolutionary crucible of what was initially believed to be an “Arab spring.”
Instead, the U.S. punished the new democratically-elected leader, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, as his rise to power was via the military. Sisi’s, unlike Morsi’s, was not a pure people’s revolutionary paroxysm and therefore was not embraced. The U.S. punished Egypt for this unacceptable folly by imposing an arms freeze.
But on Tuesday, March 31, the White House announced that it was lifting that arms freeze. The U.S. removed its hold on the delivery of F-16 aircraft, Harpoon missiles and M1A1 tank kits, according to the New York Times.
It only took two years, but U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Sisi on Tuesday, informing the Egyptian leader that the $1.3 billion annual military assistance to Egypt would continue, despite the 2013 military coup.
In a Middle East realignment that was not what Obama envisioned nor encouraged, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have become the military counterbalances to Iran’s creeping hegemony in the region.
The Saudi Kingdom has been bombing the Iranian-backed revolutionaries in neighboring Yemen, and Egypt has hinted that it may soon send in ground troops to support the Saudi air campaign.