Citing Brotherhood threat, US lawmaker opposes tank sales to Egypt

The US should halt the sale of US$1.3 billion worth of M1 Abrams tanks to Egypt as long as the Muslim Brotherhood continues to impose a threat on Israel; a Republican Congressman was quoted as saying by the Defense News website on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the potential sale of 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits for co-production and associated weapons, equipment, parts, training and logistical support. 

"We must exercise caution with regards to military sales and support to the Egyptian Government until a government is formed absent of the radical elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that will maintain active peace with Israel," wrote US Representative Allen West on Monday.   

According to the Washington-based website, West, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Tea Party Caucus, said he opposes any military sales to Egypt as long as the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist party, "remains active in the political process".

West sent the letter to Buck McKeon, the House Armed Services Committee chairman. Copies of the  

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in June that Washington would resume direct contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s best organized political group. 

According to US law, the government is required to notify Congress of any foreign military sale over a certain value. Depending on the country and the sale, Congress has between 15 and 30 days to block the sale by a joint resolution of disapproval.

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