Two United States Republican senators introduced legislation on Thursday to halt arms sales to Egypt.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, proposed a bill prohibiting the sale of F-16 aircraft, tanks and other advanced weapons to Egypt’s Muslim-Brotherhood, The Hill reported.
“I think it is a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16s and tanks, to a company that allowed a mob chanting ‘death to America’ to threaten our American diplomats.”
Anti-American sentiments in Egypt reached new levels this year when Muslim protesters stormed the United States embassy in Cairo on the anniversary of the September 11,2001 terrorist attacks, burning the American flag and spraying graffiti on the compound's walls.
Republican Sen. James Inhofe from Oklahoma, the new ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced similar legislation after voting against Paul's amendment.
Inhofe said that an outright ban would cost the U.S. defense industry $2.2 billion and diminish America's leverage over Egypt.
While his bill did not propose banning sales altogether, it would suspend them unless President Obama certifies that Egypt is committed to pursuing peaceful relations with Israel, providing security to U.S. embassies and consulates and respecting minority parties' rights, according to The Hill.
“For decades, the U.S. has had a good relationship with Egypt, training their troops and working together to maintain peace and stability in the region,” Inhofe said. “Under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, this relationship has come to a halt. We need to continue to support the Egyptian military, which Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have currently distanced themselves from. Egypt’s military is our friend – Morsi is our enemy.”