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Egypt imports tear gas from U.S. to battle pro-democracy protestors

Special to WorldTribune.com

CAIRO — The United States has been exporting tear gas to Egypt in
its effort to battle nationwide unrest.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry has won U.S. approval to order 140,000
tear gas cannisters from an American company. The Egyptian procurement was
coordinated with the Defense Ministry, the leading recipient of U.S.
assistance.

The tear gas grenades being used to quell protestors in Egypt are actually made right here in the USA. They're intended to cause "tearing of the eyes" and "irritation of respiratory tract and mucous membranes".

The tear gas grenades being used to quell protestors in Egypt are said to be intended to cause “tearing of the eyes” and “irritation of respiratory tract and mucous membranes”.

“The permit from the U.S. government was obtained after removing the company’s name and country of origin written on the items,” an Interior Ministry memorandum said.

The memorandum, dated Jan. 28 by Maj. Gen. Magdy Gohary, said the tear gas order from the U.S. firm Combined System reached $2.5 million. Gohary said the tear gas shipment, which weighs 57,000 tons, was meant to reach Egypt in April.

Correspondence released by Egypt’s Al Masri Al Yom daily reported that security forces were running out of tear gas after months of battling pro-democracy opponents of the Islamist regime of President Mohammed Morsi. Gohary, head of the police supply department, said the administration of President Barack Obama was holding up orders for Egypt’s police and Central Security Forces.

“The U.S. government was stringent in issuing export permits for Egypt
items that have been contracted since July, because of the unstable
situation in Egypt and what was circulated by the media and rights groups
about the U.S. company’s effect on protesters while using [the gas canisters] against
rioters in Egypt,” Gohary said.

On Feb. 25, the State Department confirmed the tear gas export to Egypt.
Officials said Washington was urging training of Egyptian security forces in
the use of the tear gas.

“When used appropriately these products can save lives and protect
property,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

The Egyptian correspondence said the shipment — which consisted of
70,000 gas bombs and 70,000 long-range gas projectiles — was delayed, which
required the intervention of the Defense Ministry. An Interior Ministry memo asked
the Defense Ministry to deploy air force jets to transport the tear gas,
arranged by Combined Systems’ agent in Egypt, Al Guindy Import and Export
Co.

“Due to the company’s failure in importing the shipment, citing the
difficult procedures governing importing from abroad, and the Interior
Ministry’s urgent need [for tear gas], we thought we would write to you to
take the necessary steps to approve transferring the shipment on board of a
military jet from the United States to Egypt,” Interior Ministry Maj. Gen.
Osama Ismail wrote. “Al Guindy Co. is willing to pay for the shipping
costs.”

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