But the financial background to the use of crowd control weapons raises questions about the extent of Washington’s financial assistance to Egypt’s military and how this might filter down to the ministry of interior.
The USA is the biggest arms supplier to Egypt, providing an average of US$1.3 billion in military and law equipment every year since 2000.
Records from the US Department of State show the US supplied $1.7 million of “toxicological agents” — “including tear gases and riot control agents” — to Egypt in 2010.
This was the largest dispatch of such agents in at least 10 years.
In 2009, the US supplied 33,000 units of ‘tear gas and riot control agents’ worth $460,000. It did not supply in 2007 nor 2008, but gave 17,000 units worth $240,000 in 2006, documents show.