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Tipsheet

Russia Was Supposed to Get Egyptian Rockets for Their War in Ukraine. They Never Came.

AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

The Discord leak has unveiled a reported strong-arming by Washington against Egypt which was planning to sell rockets to Russia, albeit covertly. Russia desperately needs munitions as its war in Ukraine becomes stuck in the mud. The Washington Post reported on these leaked briefs, which detailed how the Biden administration forced the sale of these weapons to the Ukrainians instead (via WaPo): 

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Egypt paused a plan to secretly supply rockets to Russia last month following talks with senior U.S. officials and instead decided to produce artillery ammunition for Ukraine, according to five leaked U.S. intelligence documents that have not been previously reported. 

The Post last week reported on another document that exposed a covert scheme by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi in February to provide Russia with up to 40,000 122mm Sakr-45 rockets, which can be used in Russian multiple-launch rocket launchers. Sisi instructed his subordinates to keep the project secret “to avoid problems with the West,” the document said. 

But the new documents, which The Washington Post obtained from a trove of material allegedly posted on Discord by a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, appear to show Sisi in early March backing away from plans to supply Moscow, a move that would have represented a major rebuke to Cairo’s most generous Western ally, the United States. 

Egypt, though it has a long-standing diplomatic and military relationship with Russia, has for decades been a principal American ally in the Middle East and receives more than $1 billion a year in U.S. military aid. 

In an apparent diplomatic win for the Biden administration, a new leaked document stated that Egypt shelved the Moscow deal and approved selling 152mm and 155mm artillery rounds to the United States for transfer to Ukraine. 

[…] 

Egypt’s president appears to have put a stop to the rocket plan following visits from U.S. officials, including Brett McGurk and Barbara Leaf, the top White House and State Department officials for Middle East issues, who traveled to Cairo in late February, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who visited in early March. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that month that Austin asked Egyptian leaders to provide Ukraine artillery rounds during their talks in Cairo but got no clear agreement. But an intelligence document dated March 9, the day after Austin’s visit, states that Egypt had approved selling 152mm and 155mm artillery rounds to the United States for transfer to Ukraine. 

That document, part of a daily intelligence update for senior Pentagon leaders, said that Egypt planned to use the U.S. request for ammunition to push Washington for a long-term military aid deal and to obtain specific American equipment, including F-35 stealth fighter jets and Patriot air defense systems. The document said that Egypt would require American help for establishing a production line for the shells, a licensing agreement and raw materials. 

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Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira of Massachusetts, 21, who is in federal custody, leaked these files. Teixeira summarized the materials and posted them on an online gaming chat, which the media has said is allegedly a hotbed of racist memes and love of firearms. Friends of this group, identified only by their screennames, said that Mr. Teixeira was just a Christian, anti-war guy trying to inform his pals about what was happening in Ukraine. It also detailed how the US had infiltrated the Russian war network and spied on our allies, like the United Kingdom, Israel, and South Korea, the latter of which is infuriated by the revelation, though not that it’s entirely unsurprising. We spy on each other all the time. 

How Teixeira obtained these files is another line of inquiry as well. He might be one of 1.25 million Americans with clearance to sensitive information, but even those folks don’t have access to information like those leaked on Discord. We’ll follow up on that today; our friends at RedState have a good post on it. I still can’t believe that the Pentagon never thought to peruse social media platforms, any platform, to ensure the integrity of classified information wasn’t posted. These files were leaked and went unnoticed for weeks.

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