Egypt Biggest Arms Buyer in Middle East

(Jerusalem Post) Arieh O'Sullivan - Egypt has become the principal arms buyer in the Middle East and the developing world's third largest buyer of weapons after China and India, according to a report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service. According to the report, entitled "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations," Egypt recorded $6.5 billion worth of weapons purchases from 2001 to 2004. Israel bought $4.4b. during the same period and Saudi Arabia recorded $3.8b. Egyptian arms purchases added up to over $1b. more than the amount of military grants Cairo received from Washington, said Hillel Frisch, an expert on the Egyptian military at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. "This is surprising since it comes at a time when the long-term Egyptian economy has been in decline. It is clear that Egypt doesn't have any other enemies," Frisch said. Since 1979, the Egyptian army has undergone a dramatic Westernization, acquiring American Abrams tanks, F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters, and a state-of-the-art navy. "What are they amassing all these kinds of weapons for?" Frisch asked.

2005-09-05 00:00:00

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