Why would the Obama administration send twenty F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the wake of the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak with whom the deal was struck in 2010 and in light of the fact that man now in charge, Mohammed Morsi, is a rabid anti-Semite and enemy of Israel?
Wouldn’t a prudent U.S. administration review the earlier deal, part of a $1 billion U.S. foreign aid package, and conclude that a regime now led by a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and man who calls Jews “descendants of apes and pigs” not have its military power increased at a time when much of the Middle East and the Maghreb, northern Africa, is embroiled in turmoil?
Egypt is not threatened by Israel, but it is known that Morsi meets regularly with Mohammed Badi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme leaders, who last year declared that “The jihad for the recovery of Jerusalem is a duty for all Muslims.”
Recently, Dr. Daniel Pipes, the founder and director of the Middle East Forum, editor of its Middle East Quarterly journal, a historian and political commentator, wrote a commentary in which he said, “The persistent belief that training and equipping foreign troops imbues them with American political and ethical values, making them allies of the United States” was “another sign of innocence.” He was being polite. It’s not innocence, it’s stupidity and the U.S. has been repeating it for a long time.
Dr. Pipes cited several cases that are worth recalling.
When U.S. “peacekeeping” troops landed in Lebanon in 1982, “the priority was to train a national army.” Lebanon was in the midst of a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990. The U.S. effort was a failure that included the 1983 suicide bombing of a Marine Corps barracks that killed 220 Marines and 22 other U.S. servicemen. As Dr. Pipes noted, most of those trained and equipped returned to their communal militias. A renewed effort to repeat this stupidity is underway again! It’s worth noting that Lebanon is governed by members of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization and proxy of Iran.
After more than a decade in Afghanistan, U.S. efforts to train a national police force and military often resulted in attacks by its members on coalition service personnel. In the first eight months of 2012, they killed 45 persons; at which point the training stopped. When the U.S. finally leaves later this year and next, those left behind to continue training programs will be sitting ducks. The billions in military gear will eventually become the property of the Taliban and Afghanistan will return swifty to its seventh century mentality.
As Dr. Pipes noted regarding Mali, U.S. efforts to train “the woebegone Malian national army to take on al Qaeda did not exactly work out.” Der Spiegel, a German daily, reported that “American specialists did train four crack units, totaling 600 men, to fight the terrorists. But it backfired: Three of the elite units have defected en masse to the rebel Tuareg.” One of its commanders, “Captain Amadou Sanogo, trained in the U.S. overthrew the government in Bamako and ousted the elected president.”
Perhaps the most egregious idiocy was the result of the U.S. efforts to mediate the discord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in which the U.S. “has trained over 6,000 Palestinian Authority security personnel in the hope they will become Israel’s partners for peace.” Neither the PA, nor its competitor, Hamas, has ever acknowledged Israel’s right to exist and Dr. Pipes has predicted that “these militiamen will eventually turn their guns against Israel.” Israel continues to intercept arms intended for Hamas and had to wage a short military operation against Hamas, an Iranian proxy, to deter its daily rocketing of southern Israel. The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, already has plenty of arms provided by the U.S.
Few allies in the Middle East, with the exception of Israelis and the Jordanian monarchy, are reliable. The Gulf States depend on the U.S. for a defense shield against Iran, as does Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has received cooperation from Yemen, but it is folly to think that Egypt or any of the North African states are friendly to our interests.
Sending Egypt F-16s is idiotic. Egypt already has a fleet of more than 200 comparable jets provided courtesy of the American taxpayer. Continuing the practice of arming nations that are unreliable is a very bad, very stupid one.
© Alan Caruba, 2013.