In recent coverage of the carnage in Egypt, it is apparent that the Egyptian Army has a rather substantial inventory of Abrams tanks as you can see here:
The vast majority of Egypt's tanks are M1A1 Abrams tanks manufactured in Egypt under a co-operative program with the United States that began in 1988. Going further back in time, under the 1979 Camp David agreement, Egypt, a former Soviet client state that was heavily armed with Soviet materiel, signed a deal that would replace its Soviet weaponry with American items including its battle tanks. Under the initial 1988 deal, the Reagan Administration sold 555 M1A1 battle tanks to Egypt for an estimated $2 billion as a means of ensuring the ever elusive "peace and stability" in the Middle East. In the initial phase of the deal, the tanks were assembled and shipped from the United States but as time passed, the parts for the tanks were manufactured in the U.S. by General Dynamics and shipped to the Egyptian Tank Plant on the outskirts of Cairo for assembly. By the end of 2007, a total of 880 tanks had been produced under this deal.
In July 2011, the United States announced that Egypt had officially requested an additional 125 M1A1 tanks equipped with .50 calibre machine guns and 120 mm smoothbore main guns and sights. The estimated cost of the entire deal was up to $1.329 billion. Again, the prime contractor was General Dynamics who was given a $395 million contract by the U.S. Army, accompanied by Honeywell International and Allison Transmission Motors. Egypt has stated that its goal is to acquire a total of 1200 tanks under the deal with the latest deal bringing them to a total of 1130 tanks.
It makes one wonder if the main beneficiary of this "largesse" isn't the aforementioned defense contractors, doesn't it and if there is a bit of a conflict of interest in the current administration? Let's take a closer look at General Dynamics, the main beneficiary of the rolling thunder deals with Egypt.
Here is a look at the amount that General Dynamics has spent on lobbying Washington since 1998:
General Dynamics lobbying spending of $10.904 million in 2012 puts it in 27th place out of 4374 lobbyists. That's a pretty substantial standing in the pecking order!
Here is a chart showing that General Dynamics is, by a relatively wide margin, the largest defense electronics industry lobbyist in Washington:
General Dynamics was also a rather substantial contributor to the election process as shown here:
President Obama received $41,457 and Mitt Romney received $86,829 from General Dynamics (from individual donors rather than PACs) and committees of both the Republicans and Democrats were also beneficiaries.
With this in mind, perhaps we have a little better understanding of why it is that the worse the situation in Egypt becomes, it does not become any more likely it that the United States military establishment will take meaningful action. After all, a decision like that means that someone will be biting the hand that fed and groomed them.
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