An Egypt military source said to the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that the White House is impeding an arms deal between US and Egypt according to which the US is to sell Cairo 10 Apache helicopters to help fight the terror in Sinai Peninsula.
The Pentagon has strong and varied reasons for seeking to bolster bilateral military-to-military ties – preferential overflight rights, privileged access to the Suez Canal, and so on – and is said to be pushing for Washington to restore its security assistance to Egypt. The White House partially froze weapons transfers to Cairo after the Egyptian military last summer removed the country’s Muslim Brotherhood-linked former President Mohammed Morsi from power in the wake of mass demonstrations calling for his resignation.
Apache helicopters, which the Egyptian army has on multiple occasions leveraged in its Sinai counter-terror operations, were among the assets affected by the ban. The White House had committed at the time to sparing aid that the Egyptian army used in its battles against Sinai jihadists, but experts had explicitly expressed doubts regarding the tenability of any distinction between generic military assistance and assets that would be used specifically in the Sinai.