A reader writes:
I was glad to read your post comparing aid to Egypt and aid to Israel - especially your last sentence "AIPAC is not a phantasm". But you let yourself be misled by the reply you received alleging that Egypt is not really a military ally - or militarily useful - for the US.
Four quick points:
1) Egypt controls the Suez Canal, which makes it considerably easier to control traffic of ships between the Red Sea and Mediterranean and was crucial for the buildup in both US-led Iraq wars; 2) Egypt is a key counter-terrorism ally and played a major role in the Clinton-Bush rendition program; 3) Egyptian air bases play an important logistical role in the ongoing occupation of Iraq; 4) Egypt has played a crucial diplomatic role supporting US efforts in various recent regional crises. If anything, Washington is getting a great bargain for its $1.3bn a year, and those who are paying the real price are the Egyptian people who are seeing the Mubarak dictatorship maintained by America.
Finally, the military aid program to Egypt is also a subsidy for the US defense industry and a mechanism to grease the palms of the corrupt Egyptian military establishment, whose senior officers get kickbacks on the weapons deals.
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