Egypt Goes on an Arms Spending Spree

MIN READOct 9, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

Egyptian troops patrol the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt as they keep an eye on Hamas forces in 2016. Members of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas' security forces are gathering, as Hamas began increasing its forces, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 21, 2016. Hamas began deploying additional forces on the Gaza border with Egypt, the interior ministry said, in an apparent effort to ease Cairo's concerns about security.

(SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the last few years, Egypt has opened the checkbook, embarking on a major arms purchasing program that has quickly made it one of the biggest importers of arms in the world. The outlay of cash, however, is all the more remarkable given Egypt's fragile economic situation and its lack of a major conventional adversary. In this, Egypt's motivations in strengthening its arsenal do not stem so much from a military need but a desire to regain the influence of a country that is used to throwing its weight around the region. Ultimately, however, simple economics might curtail the Egyptian spending spree....

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