US Weapons Against Egypt Protesters

Egypt tear gas protests

Egyptian protesters help man suffering from tear gas during clashes with riot police in Cairo on November 23, 2011 (Photo MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s something wrong when on one hand Americans continue to stand up in support for Egyptians’ aspirations for human rights and on the other the US government supplies weapons to the very military regime that is attacking protesters.

And yet, as we approach the first anniversary of the Egyptian Jan. 25 uprising, activists are still facing attacks by military and security forces, and some of the tools the military are using bear the stamp, “Made in the USA.”

Americans in large numbers offered loud and important support to the Egyptian activists in their efforts to build a new political and human rights culture.  But that didn’t stop the US government from approving new shipments of weapons.

The most recent shipment for the Egyptian Ministry of Interior arrived from the United States on November 26, carrying at least seven tons of ammunition smoke, which includes chemical irritants and riot control agents such as tear gas.

Since that sale, the Egyptian military has continued to assault peaceful demonstrators.  In December, female and opposition activists protesting military violence were attacked, leaving 17 activists dead, most of them reportedly from gunfire.

While US political and diplomatic officials have expressed concern about these actions, the Egyptian military express no regret or concern that they will face any consequences. One high-ranking military official even said that military forces were entitled to use live fire against protesters.

Meanwhile Egyptian activists are left to face the consequences.  Egyptian women activists have made public shocking images of soldiers beating and stripping female demonstrators during previous protests.  In more recent protests, Egyptian security officials have been documented beating and kicking women activists.

Sales to Egypt are just part of a larger concern that the US is undermining reform hopes throughout the Middle East with arms sales to allies such as Bahrain.

It’s time for a halt.  The U.S. State Department must stop authorizing the shipment of weapons, ammunition, and equipment that Egypt’s government could use to violently suppress human rights.

Take actionl to protect Egyptian protestors and activists from US weapons.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

13 thoughts on “US Weapons Against Egypt Protesters

  1. I'm afraid you are wrong, and it would be helpful if you would do five seconds of research before posting erroneous comments. Here is a link to the Amnesty report, "Arms Transfer to the Middle East and North Africa" http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT30/117/…. As you will see arms transfers to Syria are covered, Russia and the other countries involved are identified. In the US we were part of an international campaign pressuring the security council to act on Syrian HR, including arms sales. I also recommend you look at our Eyes on Syria website where we tell the stories of some of the victims of government violence and of the brave people speaking out for their rights.

  2. And the Syrian Army which has killed at least ten times as many protestors over the same period, the Syrian Army which is armed with billions of dollars of weapons from Russia, with fresh Russian military resupply ships docking in Syrian ports even as recently as this week.

    I support the Amnesty campaign to bring the Russian culpability in the Syrian Army massacres to light.

    Except there isn't any such Amnesty campaign of course.

    I guess if it is not the US involved in arming a cruel dictator, but Russia or China instead then Amnesty never seems to say a word.

  3. I'm afraid you are wrong, and it would be helpful if you would do five seconds of research before posting erroneous comments. Here is a link to the Amnesty report, "Arms Transfer to the Middle East and North Africa" http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT30/117/…. As you will see arms transfers to Syria are covered, Russia and the other countries involved are identified. In the US we were part of an international campaign pressuring the security council to act on Syrian HR, including arms sales. I also recommend you look at our Eyes on Syria website where we tell the stories of some of the victims of government violence and of the brave people speaking out for their rights.

  4. I'm afraid you are wrong, and it would be helpful if you would do five seconds of research before posting erroneous comments. Here is a link to the Amnesty report, "Arms Transfer to the Middle East and North Africa" http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT30/117/…. As you will see arms transfers to Syria are covered, Russia and the other countries involved are identified. In the US we were part of an international campaign pressuring the security council to act on Syrian HR, including arms sales. I also recommend you look at our Eyes on Syria website where we tell the stories of some of the victims of government violence and of the brave people speaking out for their rights.

  5. So what is the more urgent human rights issue then?

    Is it US support of the Egyptian military that has killed dozens of protestors over the last year but has also held "open" or at least somewhat "open-ish" democratic elections and allows partial free speach now?

    or is Russian support of the blood thirsty Syrian psyco-killer dictator who has murdered many thousands over the last year and seems to be accelerating the pace of killings day by day?

    Where is your sense of priorities ?

  6. And the Syrian Army which has killed at least ten times as many protestors over the same period, the Syrian Army which is armed with billions of dollars of weapons from Russia, with fresh Russian military resupply ships docking in Syrian ports even as recently as this week.

    I support the Amnesty campaign to bring the Russian culpability in the Syrian Army massacres to light.

    Except there isn’t any such Amnesty campaign of course.

    I guess if it is not the US involved in arming a cruel dictator, but Russia or China instead then Amnesty never seems to say a word.

  7. I’m afraid you are wrong, and it would be helpful if you would do five seconds of research before posting erroneous comments. Here is a link to the Amnesty report, “Arms Transfer to the Middle East and North Africa” http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT30/117/2011/en. As you will see arms transfers to Syria are covered, Russia and the other countries involved are identified. In the US we were part of an international campaign pressuring the security council to act on Syrian HR, including arms sales. I also recommend you look at our Eyes on Syria website where we tell the stories of some of the victims of government violence and of the brave people speaking out for their rights.

  8. So what is the more urgent human rights issue then?

    Is it US support of the Egyptian military that has killed dozens of protestors over the last year but has also held “open” or at least somewhat “open-ish” democratic elections and allows partial free speach now?

    or is Russian support of the blood thirsty Syrian psyco-killer dictator who has murdered many thousands over the last year and seems to be accelerating the pace of killings day by day?

    Where is your sense of priorities ?

  9. Judonimh –

    One doesn't have to choose between addressing human rights violations in Syria or in Egypt. One can do both — especially if one is in an organization as well-resourced and globally supported as Amnesty International.

    I encourage you to do both as well:

    Syria: http://bit.ly/rmrHxc
    Egypt: http://bit.ly/EgyptArms

    Indeed, Amnesty International is not only focused on Egypt and Syria, but on countries' practices across multiple continents. We have our members, activists, and supporters to thank for making this possible.

    Regards,

    Sanjeev Bery
    AIUSA Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa

  10. Judonimh –

    One doesn't have to choose between addressing human rights violations in Syria or in Egypt. One can do both — especially if one is in an organization as well-resourced and globally supported as Amnesty International.

    I encourage you to do both as well:

    Syria: http://bit.ly/rmrHxc
    Egypt: http://bit.ly/EgyptArms

    Indeed, Amnesty International is not only focused on Egypt and Syria, but on countries' practices across multiple continents. We have our members, activists, and supporters to thank for making this possible.

    Regards,

    Sanjeev Bery
    AIUSA Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa

  11. Judonimh -

    One doesn’t have to choose between addressing human rights violations in Syria or in Egypt. One can do both — especially if one is in an organization as well-resourced and globally supported as Amnesty International.

    I encourage you to do both as well:

    Syria: http://bit.ly/rmrHxc
    Egypt: http://bit.ly/EgyptArms

    Indeed, Amnesty International is not only focused on Egypt and Syria, but on countries’ practices across multiple continents. We have our members, activists, and supporters to thank for making this possible.

    Regards,

    Sanjeev Bery
    AIUSA Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa

  12. The military and in particular the banks stay strong by selling and lending to everybody regardless of beliefs. There's the popular saying, "War – what is it good for?" Well it's good for profit particularly for the banks who will happily make loans to both sides in a conflict.

  13. Indeed, it could be the real reason Russia's taking such an active interest is the prospect of the profits on the munitions sales if the conflict seriously escalates.