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BBC: The Cost of Cutting U.S. Aid to Egypt

Author: Kim Ghattas
August 22, 2013

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"Weapon systems, just like cars, are bought on credit. Most countries receiving [Foreign Military Funding] aid are required to show they have the funds to cover the full cost of the order, and the value of their orders cannot exceed the credit extended by the US. But Egypt was offered a credit arrangement more generous than most: In essence, the US gave Egypt a credit card with no limit and promised to pay the bill when it came due with US taxpayer money. Egypt was allowed to submit large orders for equipment that takes years to produce in amounts worth far more than what Congress had appropriated in military aid for Egypt, often before it had even been appropriated."

The Obama administration says it is continuing to review its military aid to Egypt, infuriating those calling for an immediate cut in assistance that would send a strong signal to Egypt's army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The White House's slow and deliberate approach is not only driven by a debate over national security concerns but also partly by the cost and impact the move could have on defence contracts and jobs at home.

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