Exclusive–Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: Egypt’s President al-Sisi Proves He Is More Important to U.S. Security than the F-35

Trump, al-Sisi AP

The southern California congressman who was on the short list to become President-elect Donald J. Trump’s secretary of state told Breitbart News, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi  pulled his country’s United Nations resolution condemning Israel at Trump’s request, he proved he was a friend of the United States.

“He’s a defender of all the good things that we believe in,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) about his friend al-Sisi, with whom he has met several times.

“I think al-Sisi is absolutely essential to our national security,” he said. “He’s alot more important to our national security and defeating our primary enemy, which is radical Islamic terrorism–he’s more important than having a new full division in the Army and he’s certainly more important to our national security than the F-35.” The Lighting II, or F-35, is a single-pilot fighter jet produced by Lockheed Martin. Rohrabacher is a long-time critic of the program’s costs and substandard performance.

In the days before Christmas, on Wednesday, the Egyptian government submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council that condemned Israel for building new settlements on lands captured by Israel after Arab invasions, such as the 1967 War. Then, after Trump spoke to al-Sisi, the Egyptian government withdrew the resolution on Thursday. But, the resolution went forward Friday, resubmitted by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela. It has always been American policy to veto UN resolutions that condemn Israel. But, when the votes were cast Friday, the tally was 14-0-1. the one abstention was the United States. In the end, Egypt, which first proposed the resolution for internal politic reasons, ended up voting for the condemnation; but clearly by pulling the measure Thursday, al-Sisi and Egypt made a bold step in a new direction, just as Obama made a bold statement in a new direction.

Rohrabacher said he wants Congress to recognize that al-Sisi’s working with Trump to protect Israel is a concrete signal that Egypt is our partner for peace.

“His courage in doing that really did demonstrate what a great partnership we can have with the Egyptian people, as long as they have leadership of the quality of General al-Sisi,” he said.

“I would hope that my colleagues open their eyes, when Egypt is doing something as important as that,” he said.

“He wants peace in the Middle East, he’s willing to embrace Israel and promote peace in that region. He protects Christians and others–al-Sisi’s the guy.” said the congressman, who co-chairs the House Egypt Caucus.

Rohrabacher said al-Sisi defeated the Muslim Brotherhood — supported by Obama — which quickly became an anti-American, jihadist government that was undermining civility in Egypt.

Obama’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering to make sure the resolution was brought back for a vote was infuriating, the congressman said.

“I can’t tell you how upset I am at Obama for doing this in the first place,” he said.  “This wasn’t just betraying Israel, it was betraying America’s interest–Israel just happens to be one of those countries that is bearing the brunt of the radical Islamic movement, which, of course, is dedicated to destroying western civilization.”

The president’s handling of the UN resolution was a major mistake for another reason: It sent the wrong signal to our allies, he said. “What ally can rely on us now? Hopefully, Trump can regain the faith of people around the world, who think of themselves as America’s allies.”

The congressman said one of the ways the Trump administration can help bolster al-Sisi and Egypt is to reverse the Obama administration’s cash-on-delivery policy for selling arms to Egypt. While other allied nations pay for military supplies from the United States with 20 percent down and the rest paid off in 20 percent installments annually, Egypt has to pay for all American military supplies with cash-on-the-barrelhead.

“We changed the rules on al-Sisi,” Rohrabacher said. “Here they are on the front line of the front line–if Egypt goes the whole Middle East goes–and yet, what we have done is make it all but impossible for al-Sisi to buy the weapons from us.”

The president’s cash-and-carry program for Egypt damaged Egypt’s ability to defend itself, maintain order, and to be a force for good in the region, he said.

When Congress returns to Washington in the first week of January, the one-time folk singer, campus activist, and screenwriter said he is filing legislation to reverse Obama’s cash-and-carry program for Egypt.

Moving forward, although he is not joining the Trump administration, Rohrabacher said he will work with the administration by connecting Trump’s team with relationships he has built up around the world starting with his days as a college student in Vietnam–during the Vietnam War–to his friends among the Kurds and the tribes inside Iran resisting that regime.


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