About that Military Aid

This morning while watching  ‘This Week’ with Christiane Amanpour – who is in Cairo, by the way – she reported jets flying overhead, and in fact you could hear them.  They were quite loud, widely circling the part of Cairo near Tafrir Square  not far from the Nile River.  At one point the camera did focus on the jets circling.  These same jets had already come up via Twitter.  By then Al-Jazeera English (AJE) was up and running on my computer and the video below is a bit of what I saw live on AJE.   The Nation magazine has Sharif Kouddous in Cairo, live blogging reports.

A helicopter hovered overhead and two military fighter jets made repeated flybys, coming in at a lower altitude each time until the noise became deafening. Whatever the intended message, the crowd was not intimidated. They cheered, held up victory signs and waved in defiance. After emerging victorious in Friday’s battle with the interior ministry’s forces, there is little that can quell the enthusiasm of the Egyptian people or their full-throated call for change.

Two things: 1) The intimidation factor undoubtedly directed towards the demonstrators and protesters by an autocratic government.  2) Nothing illustrates more the influence of the United States than those goddamned jets.  They are made for Egypt.  Again – that military aid comes up.

Lockheed Martin Corp is building 20 new advanced F-16C/D fighter aircraft for Egypt. The final Egyptian F-16 under contract is to be delivered in 2013, joining the 240 Egypt already has purchased, according to Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon’s biggest supplier by sales.

Egypt was the first Arab country to buy F-16s, widely viewed as a symbol of political and security ties with the United States.

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Made in the USA!

Oh yeah – here we go.   According to a couple of reports I’ve read and newscasts I’ve heard the amount of foreign aid to Egypt – specifically for military/security purposes – is given at $1.3 billion in 2010.   Billion – billion…..not measly millions.

The photo above is part of an amazing photographic slide show of the Egyptian protests against the government of Hosni Mubarak.   Several of the photos are terribly graphic and may be disturbing.  It’s a truly sharp picture of the reality happening in Egypt currently.