Obama to send military-grade spy gear to Egypt

Barack Obama has sent over military grade equipment to Egypt in a sign of growing relations with dictator Sisi.

Obama to send military-grade spy gear to Egypt

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Barack Obama's State Department has approved the sale to Egypt of a sophisticated,military grade surveillance equipment that experts and activists fear Cairo's authoritarian regime will use against the country's citizens. 

The State Department issued a statement saying the equipment is intended for us over the Egyptian-Libyan border, where a branch of ISIL is growing. But the current Egyptian government sees domestic critics as existential threats on the same level as ISIL. 

Egypt is still reeling over the2013 coup yet despite this, the Egyptian government is cracking down on dissent.  Cole Bockenfeld, the advocacy director at the Project on Middle East Democracy said that the Arab Spring showed that repressive regimes in the Middle East can and will use U.S.-provided equipment against their own citizens.

"We may have an agreement that this kind of equipment is for external use only, but of course these security services did -- and can again -- turn it anywhere," Bockenfeld said.

According to a report in the Huffington Post, the State Department won't state what the surveillance system will do. The Egyptian Embassy and several defense contractors that make surveillance devices did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

 The next step is a months long process that will involve discussions between officials in the two governments and then finally the approval of a military contractor.

The sale of the equipment isthe latest deal between the two nations.

On March 31, Obama lifted a hold on transfers of weapons systems, including F-16 fighter jets and Harpoon missiles, that Egypt had purchased but not received because of U.S. human rights concerns related to the aftermath of the 2013 coup.

Just days afterwards, Egyptian officials communicated to U.S. officials that they wanted the surveillance gear, a senior congressional aide told HuffPost.

Lifting the hold has been seen as a sign that Obama wishes to develop a closer relationship with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Analysts see the approval of the new sale as a potent sign of that ongoing shift.

As the U.S. and the new regime grow closer, Egyptian civil society activists are now concerned about what could happen to their already restricted freedoms.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Temmuz 2015, 14:19
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