- Aaron Hernandez investigated for threatening to kill prison guard
- Putin tells Merkel that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war
- San Antonio mayor to Obama: Give amnesty to illegals with legal families
- NYPD disbands unit that spied on Muslims to go after ‘real bad guys’
- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
Egypt gives Russian dignitaries red carpet welcome
It said Egypt has shown interest in purchasing Russian air defense missile systems and MiG-29 fighter jets, combat helicopters and other weapons. But it quoted an unnamed official dealing with arms trade as saying that no big deals are expected in the near future as Egypt currently can’t afford it.
However, a retired Egyptian military general who maintains close ties to the present army leadership said Egypt was inching close to signing a $2 billion deal with Russia for the purchase of 24 MiG fighter-jets as well as anti-tank missiles and an air- defense system.
“Do you want us to take the (U.S.) slap on our face and remain silent? Of course not,” said the retired general, Talaat Musalem. “This pressure is not acceptable, so we returned to the Russians to maintain our fighting capabilities.”
The Russian defense minister vowed to develop military ties and increase bilateral contacts between the two countries, saying “I expect to continue a constructive dialogue on the entire spectrum of military and military-technical issues.”
He said their discussions also covered fighting terrorism and future joint exercises.
It was the highest level Russian visit to Egypt since former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a partnership deal with then-President Hosni Mubarak in 2009.
Egypt has been the second-largest recipient — after Israel — of U.S. bilateral foreign assistance, largely as a way to sustain the 1979 Egypt-Israeli peace treaty. Washington’s froze a large chunk of about $1.5 billion in annual aid, mostly for the military, last month.
“Theoretically speaking, there’s no polarization and no need to pick and choose between the U.S. and Russia,” said Russian affairs specialist Farrag Aboul-Nour. “But practically, freezing U.S. aid was a dangerous alarm … The message to the U.S. today is: Egypt cannot remain a hostage to the U.S. forever.”
Russia’s cause in Egypt will likely be helped by growing anti-U.S. sentiment in Egypt, chiefly over Washington’s perceived bias in favor of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group and decades of what many Egyptians see as their country’s submission to Washington’s will under Mubarak, who himself was toppled in a 2011 revolution.
Earlier this week, a 21-gun salute and a band played military music to welcome a Russian missile cruiser, the Varyag, when it docked in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria. A military official speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations said the cruiser will be in Alexandria for six days. Another Russian warship, the Boris Butoma, is now docked in a Red Sea port.
Egypt was Moscow’s closest Arab ally for two decades, starting in the 1950s when the Soviet Union threw its weights behind the late nationalist leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser in his ambitious drive to modernize the Arab nation and create a well-armed military at the height of the Cold War and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But in 1972, then-President Anwar Sadat threw out thousands of Soviet military advisers and realigned the country’s foreign policy, taking his nation closer to the United States soon after the 1973 Mideast war.
Egypt’s relations with the Soviet Union took a marked turn for the worse after Moscow’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 where Egypt was among the countries sending Arab fighters to join war against Soviets. Relations have steadily improved in recent years, with nearly 2 million Russians vacationing in Egypt every year.
TWT Video Picks
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes