Closer Egyptian-Russian Relations Causing a Headache in Washington

Source: Arab Center Washington DC

Author(s): Gregory Aftandilian

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Egypt’s intended purchase of advanced Russian fighter jets is raising alarm bells in Washington and has prompted US officials to threaten Cairo with sanctions under legislation passed in 2017. Despite friendly relations between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US administration does not want countries like Egypt, which has long been in the US military orbit, to become dependent on Russian arms that could upend interoperability with US forces and enable Russia to extend its influence even more deeply and widely in the Middle East. An additional underlying concern for US policy-makers may be that the sophisticated Russian fighter jets in question could possibly erode Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region, an important aspect of the US-Israeli relationship at which Arab states have long bristled.

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