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Friday, 31 July 2015

U.S delivers F-16 fighter jets to Egypt...As Congress gears up to fight arms sales to Nigeria

WASHINGTON, Per Second News---The United States began on Thursday delivery of eight F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, according to its embassy in Cairo, the first since Washington fully lifted in March a freeze on arms delivery.

This is coming as some members of the U.S Congress are gearing up to fight the Obama administration’s plan to sell some weapons to Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram sect.

Per Second News gathered in Washington Thursday afternoon that the Obama administration is planning to look into the security requests submitted by the Nigerian president during his recent visit to Washington.

Per Second News reported prior to President Buhari's trip to Washington that the US might approve the sale of Apache helicopters to Nigeria to fight the insurgency.

" Nigeria will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to Boko Haram threats and to strengthen its homeland defense," a source in Washington disclosed.

Regardless, a growing group of lawmakers and non-governmental organizations are gearing up to oppose the State Department’s plan to sell weapons to Nigeria.  Per Second News gathered that about half a dozen congressmen are circulating a resolution that would stop the sale from going through.

"Providing arms to a Military that is actively committing human rights violations against unarmed civilians is at odds with United States foreign policy goals," an official at the office of congressman Leahy said last week.

" No US origin weaponry will be sold or given to Nigeria, rather the U.S will provide Nigeria with operational intelligence, and special operations training, according to a security source in the know."

The  Egypt operation comes as Secretary of State John Kerry's prepares to visit Cairo for a "strategic dialogue" on Sunday amid a warming in ties that were strained after the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The jets are to fight the terrorists group ISIS.

Following the overthrow of Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected leader, Washington froze $1.3bn in annual military aid to Egypt.

It fully resumed assistance in March, and Cairo took delivery of two US fast missile boats last month. Washington had already delivered 10 Apache helicopters in December.

 The eight F-16 Block 52 jets "are being flown in directly from the United States, and will be immediately integrated into the Egyptian air force, joining its existing fleet of F-16 aircraft," the embassy said.
All eight from this first batch will arrive by Friday, with four more to be delivered later this year.

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