Reports indicate that China and North Korea are helping Egypt “modernize [its] short-range missile systems.”
According to U.S. intelligence officials, this work is being carried out by technicians from China’s Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation. They are in Egypt working with the North Koreans, as the North Koreans are working with Cairo.
The missile activities were detected in connection with Egypt’s Sakr Factory, the main missile production facility that makes Egypt’s Scud-Bs and extended-range Scud Cs. The aim appears to be to take Egypt beyond a simplistic scud missile capability to a more advanced scud or a different missile altogether.
This escalation in missile technology comes at time when the U.S. is scheduled to deliver 20 F-16 fighters to Cairo as a part of a $1.5 billion arms package approved with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
New intelligence about the Chinese-North Korean missile cooperation follow previous intelligence reports from November that North Korea was planning to ship Scud missile components to Egypt. That cooperation was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
United Nations sanctions imposed on North Korea for its nuclear and long-range missile tests prohibit U.N. members from purchasing such North Korean military assistance.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has sent a letter to President Obama asking for a delay in delivery of the F-16s in order to give Congress time to further evaluate the conditions of the military sale, and of course, the posture of Cairo.
Inhofe wants to be sure the U.S. is not arming a country that is preparing to strike Israel.