Monday, July 11, 2011

Does It Really Make Sense to Give Egypt More M1A1 Abrams Tanks?

On July 5th, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced a possible sale of 125 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks to Egypt bringing the total number of M1 tanks in the service of the Egyptian military to around 1,130.  This just seems like a completely brain dead thing for us to do.  Our ally, Hosni Mubarak, has recently been deposed, the Egyptian military has been moving closer to our enemy, Iran, opened the border with Gaza and has periodically shut off its gas pipeline to Israel.  And to make matters worse, when they have elections, the Muslim Brotherhood could very well take power and be in possession of a highly modern and formidable tank force.  Israel, which has about 1,700 Merkava tanks, would definitely be at risk if Egypt started using M1 tanks against it, especially given the fact that they would likely be fighting a two or three front war simultaneously (Syria & Hezbollah in the north, Palestinians in the middle and Egypt in the South). 

I really just don't see how this makes sense to anyone.  Why does it need the additional tanks?  Egypt only borders 3 countries, Libya, Sudan and Israel.  Libya is in the middle of a civil war and is clearly no threat.  Even if Qaddafi wins and decides to attack Egypt for some unknown reason, his tanks are mostly old T-55 Soviet tanks, which would be no match for Egypt's current military.  I also don't believe Sudan is any threat to Egypt as they have their hands full with South Sudan plus its tank corps seems even weaker than Libya's.   So if these tanks are ever used in a future conflict, that future conflict will most likely be with Israel. 

Congress has until August 4th to object to the deal.  Let's hope someone there is paying enough attention enough to do so.


  1. aren't they manufactured right there in Egypt under license?

  2. I think they are assembled in Egypt but the parts themselves are not manufactured there. The press release refers to "125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits for co-production, 125 M256 Armament Systems, 125 M2 .50 caliber machine guns, 250 M240 7.62mm machine guns, 125 AGT-1500 M1A1 series tank engines and transmissions, 120mm test cartridges, spare and repair parts, maintenance, support equipment, special tool and test equipment, personnel training and equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support."

    So I dont think they could manufacture M1's without US parts.