US approves nearly $700 million in arms to Egypt despite Cairo's 'money woes'
The US has approved an arms sale, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to Egypt despite outcry over Cairo's continued human rights abuses and financial woes.
The State Department gave the green light for the sale of $691 million in anti-tank missiles, support, and equipment to Egypt on Thursday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a press release, despite Cairo's cuts to basic services due to financial issues.
This includes 5,000 TOW 2A missiles and other anti-tank equipment, made by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Arizona.
"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East," reported DSCA.
"The proposed sale will enhance Egypt’s capability to strengthen its homeland defense by replenishing its stocks. The missiles will be used for counter-terrorism and border security against armored threats and fortified positions. Egypt will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles into its armed forces."
Egypt has been battling Islamic State group militants in the northern Sinai, where an insurgency has raged for almost a decade.
Egypt's counter-insurgency has been criticised by human rights groups, who have highlighted the use of torture, extra-judicial killings, and child soldiers by government-linked forces.
Human rights groups have also called on the US to link arms deals with Egypt to human rights issues.
Egypt has detained thousands of political activists and issued death sentences on members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
There have also been renewed calls for Egypt to free British citizen and activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who has been subject to torture and denied basic rights during his detention according to his supporters.
Many Egyptians have also bemoaned Egypt's vast spending on arms and the military as the government cuts subsidies and spending on public services hitting the country's poor hardest.