CAIRO – Russia has signed a contract with Egypt for the supply of several dozen heavy Su-35 multi-role fighters, according to two top managers of defense industry enterprises.
According to them, the relevant agreement covers the supply of “over two dozen machines” and related parts to them in the sum of about $ 2 billion, entered into force at the end of 2018, and deliveries can begin as early as 2020–2021. The sources declined to disclose the cost of the contract, but noted that it “guarantees the capacity utilization of the manufacturer of the machine, the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant, for several years ahead.”
As the newspaper notes, in the coming years, along with the MiG-29M / M2 medium fighters supplied to Egypt, they should significantly increase the combat potential of the Egyptian air force fleet, which are still armed with outdated Soviet MiG-21s and Chinese J-7s.
The relationship between Egypt and Russia began to warm significantly after Russia worked with pro-Mubarak elements within the military, alongside secular civil society organizations, to ouster the US-Israel-Turkey-Qatar installed government of Morsi. Morsi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Arab Spring events which resulted in a Color Revolution, saw the anti-Mubarak movement, which included socialists of the left, succeed in topping Mubarak. Rather than a secular socialist government, the Muslim Brotherhood backed by the above mentioned countries, installed their man.
One important factor here was Mubarak’s opposition to entering into the war in Syria.
Morsi’s aim was to formally introduce Egypt into the conflict in Syria, a move that could have turned the tide in favor of the Jihadist invasion – but at the same time, turn the balance of so-called ‘rebel-held’ power in Syria at the time, towards the Muslim Brotherhood and away from Al Qaeda. Therefore, Saudi Arabia who backs Al Qaeda (later, ISIS) – still certain that the overall gambit to remove Assad from Syria would succeed – aided Russia in the ouster of Morsi, and in so doing believed they had eliminated one of their main rivals who would otherwise claim the spoils of war in a post-Assad Syria.
Ultimately Al Sisi was agreed to as a compromise candidate, with his support in the military, and a mandate to ‘return’ to the Mubarak era status quo in regards to foreign affairs. This was also acceptable to Israel given that Al Sisi has upheld Mubarak’s line regarding the cutting-off of Palestinians from Egypt.
Rather now, we find an Egypt which has gravitated increasingly towards the Russian Federation. Their moves to update their air force with more than 24 Russian pieces was vehemently opposed to by the US, as this violates their sanctions policy.