Last November, the United States suspended aid and arms transfers to Egypt in reaction to the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. In contrast, earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, praising the “unconditional friendship” between Egypt and Russia countries and reportedly working to negotiate a $2 billion arms deal.
Although American officials express a continued commitment to the U.S. partnership with Egypt—and the United States is likely to remain Egypt’s top arms supplier—leaders on both sides of the relationship are wondering where it’s heading. The confusion was heightened this week when the interim Egyptian government unexpectedly resigned.
According to Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Egypt’s diplomatic tension with the United States following Morsi’s forced removal from office was a “wake-up call” for the Egyptian military. “They started to look at the rupture with the United States as a possible opportunity to diversify their military suppliers.”