Egypt may purchase $2 billion in weapons from Russia—a deal which could be underwritten by Saudi Arabia. Cairo has its eyes set in particular on a batch of MiG-29 interceptor jets.
What are the motives of the players?
The Egyptian military gains a new source of arms and aid after losing some U.S. support in the wake of Muhammad Morsi’s fall from power.
Russia gains financially through the sale and politically by further reestablishing its influence in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia gets another way of expressing its dissatisfaction with U.S. policy on Syria and Iran.
From the business pages of United Press International:
Egypt said to edge closer to Russian arms package
Nov. 26, 2013
CAIRO, Nov. 26 (UPI) — Speculation persists regarding an emerging Egyptian-Russian military accord that may include the sale by Moscow of a package of weapons systems worth at least $2 billion.
It would likely hinge on Saudi Arabia, a supporter of Egypt’s military-backed regime, underwriting a deal that would be a major boost for Russian efforts to regain influence in a changing Middle East as U.S. power in the region is eroding.
The Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council have pledged $12 billion to Cairo and have delivered about $7 billion.
There are reports Riyadh has agreed to pay for the Russian arms. But the switch from U.S. weapons — supplied to Egypt since 1979 — back to Russia, the primary supplier to throughout the 1970s will entail a significant expenditure that could signal a possible shift in Arab military procurement policies…