Congress: Egypt top arms-buyer from U.S.

Thursday, December 22, 2004

Egypt has become the largest military client of the United States.

The Congressional Research Service said in a report that Egypt has ordered more defense equipment and platforms from the United States than any other country. CRS, in a report issued on Dec. 8, said Egypt led in nearly every category of military purchases from 1996 until 2003.

In all, the report said, Egypt ordered $13.7 billion in weaponry from 1996 to 2003, far more than any other country during that period. The report said Egypt has replaced Saudi Arabia as the leading military client of Washington.

Egypt has financed the purchase of military platforms, upgrades and weaponry through its $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, Middle East Newsline reported. Egypt receives the second largest military aid package from the United States. The leading recipient is Israel, which obtains more than $2.2 billion in annual U.S. defense assistance.

The report, entitled "U.S.Arms Sales: Agreements with and Deliveries to Major Clients,1996-2003," asserted that Egypt has replaced Saudi Arabia as the leading importer of U.S. weapons. The United Arab Emirates was also cited as a leading military client of Washington. Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE receives U.S. military financial aid.

Authored by defense specialist Richard Grimmett, the report identified the leading purchasers of U.S. weaponry from 1996 to 2003. Under U.S. law, American companies with commercial licenses issued by the State Department are not required to report arms sales agreements with foreign purchasers.

From 1996 to 1999, Egypt led in military orders from the United States with $5.8 billion, the report said. Saudi Arabia followed Egypt, with $4.6 billion and Israel was said to have ordered $4.3 billion.

In 2000, the United Arab Emirates replaced Egypt as the leading purchaser of U.S. weapons. Abu Dhabi ordered $7.1 billion in weapons from 2000 until 2003. The purchase figure for the UAE was based on the $6.4 billion contract for 80 F-16 E/F Block 60 fighters in 2000.

From 2000 to 2003, Egypt recorded $6.2 billion in military orders, followed by Israel with $5.1 billion and Saudi Arabia with $2.7 billion. The report said Kuwait ordered $1.7 billion in military equipment during that period.

In 2003, Egypt returned as the leading military client of the United States. The report said Egypt ordered $1.7 billion in weaponry, with Saudi Arabia in second place with $700 million. Israel and Jordan followed with $580 million and $330 million respectively.

The report did not identify the equipment ordered by Egypt or any other foreign client of the United States. But a review of Egyptian arms deals approved by Congress over the last five years include the sale of F-16 multi-role fighters, M1A1 main battle tanks, armored personnel carrier, anti-aircraft systems, AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, Black Hawk utility helicopters and upgrades for airborne early-warning aircraft and cargo helicopters.

Saudi Arabia, however, remained the leader in the amount of U.S. weaponry delivered from 1996 to 2003. Riyad received $16.6 billion in weapons from 1996 to 1999, followed by Israel with $3.6 billion and Egypt with $3.1 billion.

From 2000 until 2003, Saudi Arabia received $6.3 billion in weapons, the report said. Egypt followed with $4.7 billion and Israel with $2.9 billion. Kuwait and Bahrain received deliveries of $1.1 billion and $590 million, respectively.

In 2003, Egypt and Saudi Arabia received $1.2 billion in weapons each, reflecting the acceleration of Egyptian military orders and the slowdown in new purchases by Riyad. Israel and Kuwait followed with $920 million and $160 million in U.S. arms deliveries.

The report also reported the emergence of Greece as a leading military client of the United States. From 1996 until 1999, Greece ordered $1.4 billion in weapons, while its neighbor and rival, Turkey, ordered $1.2 billion of military equipment.

From 2000 until 2003, Greece ordered $3.3 billion in U.S. weaponry while Turkey ordered $1.3 billion.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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