WikiLeaks: Egyptian military an institution in decline

'Le Monde' notes that army is still strong enough to guarantee stability of the regime; says generals are jealous of US military aid to Israel.

December 14, 2010 15:17
2 minute read.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Omar Suleiman of Egypt.

gheit and suleiman_311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Relations between the Egyptian military and the United states have deteriorated in recent years, according to US diplomatic cables obtained by Le Monde and published Tuesday.

A 2008 cable emanating from the US Embassy in Cairo said, "The Egyptian army is an institution in decline," but remains strong enough to "guarantee the stability of the regime," according to the report. It noted that the army operates "a vast network of commercial enterprises " and real estate in the Nile Delta and Red Sea areas.

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Another cable, written earlier this year, acknowledged that the US and Israel certainly "welcomed the effectiveness" of Egyptian efforts to maintain the blockade on Gaza and in combating "the flow of weapons and illicit funds" for Hamas in the Strip," Le Monde reported.

Also noted in the series of cables revealed by Le Monde was the apparent jealously that Egyptian generals hold towards the amount of military aid that Israel receives from the US, relative to what Cairo receives. The report quotes an Egyptian general complaining to the US assistant secretary of defense that the ratio of aid has gone from 2:3 ($2 billion for Egypt, $3 billion for Israel) to 2:5 in recent years, a disparity which the Egyptian called "a violation of Camp David."

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Discussing the Iranian nuclear threat, a frequent topic in WikiLeaks cables from the Middle East, a cable from 2009 quoted Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit suggesting that while Washington might not "perceive the Israeli nuclear arsenal as a threat, ourselves and the rest of the Middle East" do. He added that if the US pushed Israel "to renounce [its] nuclear" program, "they would be in much better position to demand the end of the Iranian program," Le Monde reported.

The report maintained that although the Egyptian army is in decline, it remains strong.

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