Egypt Takes Military Goodies From North Korea

In April 2015 I wrote the following on this blog.

So it should come as no surprise that I am troubled by the news that the United States will resume suspended military aid to Egypt.  The Obama administration said it would continue to request the annual $1.3 billion in military financing the United States has provided in the past to Egypt.  That makes such funding the second-largest recipient of U.S. military support after Israel.

While I strongly support foreign aid overall , and also support the military moves Egypt along with other regional powers are taking against radical elements in Yemen, I am opposed to the military support we are providing for Sisi.

Today comes reporting from the Washington Post of what happens when we support tyrants such as Egypt’s President Sisi.  We always end up being duped.

Last August, a secret message was passed from Washington to Cairo warning about a mysterious vessel steaming toward the Suez Canal. The bulk freighter named Jie Shun was flying Cambodian colors but had sailed from North Korea, the warning said, with a North Korean crew and an unknown cargo shrouded by heavy tarps.

Armed with this tip, customs agents were waiting when the ship entered Egyptian waters. They swarmed the vessel and discovered, concealed under bins of iron ore, a cache of more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades. It was, as a United Nations report later concluded, the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

But who were the rockets for? The Jie Shun’s final secret would take months to resolve and would yield perhaps the biggest surprise of all: The buyers were the Egyptians themselves.

A U.N. investigation uncovered a complex arrangement in which Egyptian business executives ordered millions of dollars worth of North Korean rockets for the country’s military while also taking pains to keep the transaction hidden, according to U.S. officials and Western diplomats familiar with the findings. The incident, many details of which were never publicly revealed, prompted the latest in a series of intense, if private, U.S. complaints over Egyptian efforts to obtain banned military hardware from Pyongyang, the officials said.

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