[guest post by Dana]
The information was discovered in a trove of classified files posted on a chat app popular with gamers:
President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi of Egypt, one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East and a major recipient of U.S. aid, recently ordered subordinates to produce up to 40,000 rockets to be covertly shipped to Russia, according to a leaked U.S. intelligence document.
A portion of a top secret document, dated Feb. 17, summarizes purported conversations between Sisi and senior Egyptian military officials and also references plans to supply Russia with artillery rounds and gunpowder. In the document, Sisi instructs the officials to keep the production and shipment of the rockets secret “to avoid problems with the West.”
This was despite Egyptian leaders being unable to commit to sending ammunition to Ukraine after a request from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Interestingly:
In the document, Sisi is quoted as saying that he was considering selling “ordinary stuff” to China to make room for “more Sakr 45 production,” a reference to a type of 122mm rocket manufactured by Egypt. The document does not explicitly say whether the rockets that would be produced for Russia were Sakr 45s, but such rockets would be compatible with Russian Grad multiple rocket launchers.
A spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry claimed:
“Egypt’s position from the beginning is based on noninvolvement in this crisis and committing to maintain equal distance with both sides, while affirming Egypt’s support to the U.N. charter and international law in the U.N. General Assembly resolutions.”
“We continue to urge both parties to cease hostilities and reach a political solution through negotiations,” he said.
Exactly how secretly supplying arms to an aggressor that illegally invaded a sovereign nation and waged war at the direction of its murderous leader who has been accused of war crimes speaks to being “uninvolved” is a mystery… Anyway, the report notes that yesterday, a government offical described the allegations as being untrue, which state media echoed. Of course.
This major recipient of U.S. aid receives – and has for many, many years – more than $1 billion a year from us. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the relationship. Question: how do we know that any portion of that money hasn’t already gone to support Russia, whether in sending arms or in the manufacturing of them?
Additionally, there is the critical issue of Egypt’s reliance on Russia for its grain supply:
[A]fter the war in Ukraine disrupted access to Ukrainian wheat, Cairo began relying heavily on purchases of Russian grain. The arrangement has helped Egypt avoid wheat shortages that could spark social unrest in a country where poverty is widespread and bread is served with nearly every meal.