In a letter to House Armed Services Committee chairman, Rep. Buck
McKeon, West, a Florida Republican, said Egypt's greatest threat was a
Brotherhood takeover, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the Brotherhood was prepared to "turn Egypt
into a radical Islamic state."
This marked the first open House opposition to U.S. arms sales to Egypt
since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February. Congressional
sources said West's letter represented the concern of many House members
regarding Egypt, which receives $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid.
"America must continue to stand with the Egyptian people and encourage
them to build their own democracy with new political parties and freedoms,"
West, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said. "However, we
must exercise caution with regards to military sales and support to the
Egyptian government until a government is formed absent of the radical
elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that will maintain active peace with
Egypt already has a fleet of about 1,000 Abrams MBTs, most of them
coproduced in a factory in Cairo. Officials said Egypt was producing at
least 70 percent of the M1A1 in cooperation with prime contractor General
West's letter was also sent to House Speaker John Boehner, House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other congressional leaders. West cited
Egypt's decision to allow the Iranian Navy to send two vessels through the
Suez Canal in February as well as the subsequent visit by Iran's
foreign minister to Cairo.
Congress has 30 days to object to the Egyptian deal, approved by the
administration on July 1. Congressional sources said neither the House nor
Senate was expected to block the Abrams sale.
"There are jobs at stake here and the technology has long matured, so in
this economic climate, blocking the deal doesn't make much sense to
Congress," a congressional aide said.