WASHINGTON — Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is pushing the White House to release weapons systems, especially F-16 fighter jets, to Egypt as well as aid to Jordan and the Iraqi Kurds, as the region warily eyes the military intentions of the Islamic State.
In a letter to President Barack Obama last week, Granger, chairman of a key funding subcommittee, sharply criticized the administration for failing to provide arms that have been withheld from Egypt since 2013.
“As Egypt, Jordan and the Kurds retaliate and defend themselves against ISIL’s heinous acts,” Granger wrote, using one of the common acronyms for the Islamic State, “U.S. security assistance is being held or delayed by bureaucratic processes and ill-advised policy decisions by your administration.”
She pointed out that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi retaliated against the Islamic State with F-16 strikes after the militants beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in neighboring Libya.
“However, it is more of the same F-16s that your administration continues to prevent from being delivered to Egypt,” said Granger.
The U.S. withheld arms to Egypt, including 20 F-16 fighter jets, 20 Harpoon missiles and 125 M1A1 battle tank kits, in 2013 after the military overthrew the elected leadership. The Pentagon is paying the F-16 builders, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Corp., of Fort Worth to store the aircraft there. Granger represents Fort Worth.