Egypt’s Foreign Minister harshly criticized Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, on Thursday for calling President Mohammed Morsi an “enemy” of the United States.
A spokesman for the ministry said the comments were “unacceptable” and “tantamount to interference in Egypt’s internal affairs,” the Egypt Independent reported.
Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced legislation that would suspend arms sales to Egypt if it fails to uphold its peace treaty with Israel or continues to violate human rights.
“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 introducing the legislation. “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.”
Earlier, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, proposed a bill placing an outright ban on selling F-16 aircrafts, tanks and other advanced weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“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 last Thursday 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.”
While Inhofe’s bill did not propose banning sales altogether, saying it would cost the U.S. defense industry $2.2 billion and diminish America's leverage over Egypt, it seeks suspend sales 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.
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.
At the time, President Obama said, “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy.”
“I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident,” Obama said at the time.