The Art of War in Egypt

Source: Carnegie Endowment
Author(s): Maged Mandour

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Since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became president in June 2014, the Egyptian military has embarked on a massive spending spree. The value of arms transfer agreements Egypt signed in 2015 was the second-largest among developing countries, at $11.9 billion. This included $5.9 billion from France for 24 Rafale jet fighters and $1.1 billion for two Mistral helicopter carriers, whose primary purpose is amphibious landing and assault operations. In 2016, Egypt and France signed an additional $1.1 billion deal for aircraft, ships, and a military satellite communication system. In January 2016, Egypt concluded a deal for 46 assault helicopters from Russia to complement the Mistral carriers.

Yet the kind of weaponry purchased does not seem well suited for Egypt’s internal or external security challenges, nor do they fit its foreign policy aims. The bulk of the purchases are of fighter jets, assault helicopters, and multi-purpose carriers, which are traditionally used to project power or carry out offensive operations. This raises questions about whether the state foresees a Syria-type internal conflict….

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