Procurement: Saudi Arabia And Egypt Need Each Other

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May 1, 2016: In mid-April Egypt and France signed a procurement deal for over $2 billion worth of military equipment from France. The latest deal involves a military satellite communications system based on a communications satellite built by France for Egypt. Since 2014 Egypt has spent over $2 billion to buy six warships and 24 Rafale jet fighters. France has provided loans for $3.3 billion to pay for it. In the past Egypt bought Mirage 2000 and Mirage V fighters, Gazelle scout helicopters and Alpha Jet training aircraft from France.

One of the more unusual French sales to Egypt was in 2015 when, with the help of Saudi financing, Egypt paid a billion dollars for two Mistral amphibious ships originally built for Russia. This sale brought unwelcome attention to how dependent Egypt has become on Saudi money to maintain its large armed forces. But at the same time the Mistral sale demonstrated how the Saudis are buying military muscle from Egypt. The two Mistral-class ships will make Egypt a major naval player in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. They also will help cement a growing relationship with France as a major supplier for the Egyptian military. Unmentioned was the fact that Egypt depends on Saudi Arabia for the money to pay for all these new French weapons. The way things work between Egypt and Saudi Arabia is that Egypt is now expected to come to the aid of Saudi Arabia in case of an emergency. The two Mistrals could quickly carry Egyptian troops to Saudi Arabia in the event of an emergency. The same rules are believed to apply for all the other hardware Egypt has recently bought using Saudi money.

 


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