The US pours around $1.3 billion into the Egyptian military each year, financing its massive arsenal of US-made weapons: F-16s, Apache helicopters, M1A1 tanks, and a flood of small arms, missiles, and equipment. Strict requirements are in place to keep tabs on where exactly such aid goes and to make sure weapons don’t fall into the hands of human rights abusers.
But the State Department and the Department of Defense don’t have fully functioning systems in place to track the flow of weapons, according to a report released to the public last week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that examines the past five years of US security support for Egypt.
The GAO described how the Egyptian government stymied or delayed efforts to monitor US-furnished hardware such as stinger missiles, night vision equipment, and riot control gear. Additionally, it found that the State Department lacks a rigorous protocol to ensure that US equipment doesn’t find its way into the hands of Egyptian units flagged as human rights abusers, even as the State Department has itself criticized Egypt’s rights record.
The weak vetting procedures suggest that the State Department may be running afoul of the so-called “Leahy Law,” an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act named after Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, which tasks State with keeping equipment out of the hands of units guilty of gross human rights violations.
Read more at Vice News
Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org