There are two schools of thought within the GOP as to whether the U.S. should sell arms to Egypt: some senators, led by Rand Paul, want to eliminate arm sales altogether, while others, led by James Inhofe, would prefer to sell the arms to the Egyptian military because the military opposes Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
An amendment championed by Paul and his like-minded senators to eliminate the sale of weapons failed yesterday by a vote of 79-19, with all 19 votes for the amendment coming from the GOP. The amendment would have suspended the sale of F-16 fighter jets, M1 tanks, and similar weaponry to Egypt.
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. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16s and tanks to a country that allowed a mob chanting ‘death to America’ to threaten our American diplomats.
Paul also stated that “these weapons threaten Israel’s security” and “someday may be used against Israel.”
Inhofe had a slightly different view. He said that he also wanted to suspend arms sales: “For months, I have been calling on the President and his Administration to delay F-16 deliveries to Egypt. I still am insisting the Administration suspend this transaction to Egypt.”
However, Inhofe added, “We need to continue to support the Egyptian military, which [Egyptian President Mohammed] Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have currently distanced themselves from. Egypt’s military is our friend — Morsi is our enemy.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) agreed with Inhofe, saying that the amendment might have damaged any influence the U.S. still has in Egypt had it passed.
After the defeat of the amendment, Paul immediately brought the idea back as a separate bill. Inhofe brought forth his own bill as well.