Obama aids Egypt as it tries to buy U-boats

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama’s deputies are negotiating a $1 billion aid package with Egypt’s new Islamist government, even as Egypt’s cash-strapped military revealed that it is trying to buy $1 billion worth of German submarines that could threaten Israel’s fast-growing offshore energy projects.

The German government has pointedly declined to deny the incendiary revelation about Egypt’s request to buy the two submarines.

Instead, the German government offered vague support for Israel, which is facing renewed threats from Iran’s nuclear program and the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt.

“There has been no change in the German government’s position towards Israel, in the commitment the German government feels towards Israel’s security,” a spokesman for Germany’s chancellor told Der Speigel, a major German newspaper.

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland did not respond to an inquiry by The Daily Caller.

The submarine purchase will likely be an issue in the U.S. election, because both parties are vying for support from a relatively large concentration of swing-voting Jewish Americans in Florida.

During the Democrats’ convention in Charlotte, for example, several speakers declared that Obama is a strong supporter of Israel’s defense.

“The Democratic platform reflects the president’s unflinching commitment to Israel’s security and future as a Jewish state,” former Rep. David Wexler declared Sept. 4. “To strengthen Israel’s qualitative military advantage, the president has increased security assistance to Israel to record levels — more than any other president,” he claimed.

Those declarations came after party leaders OK’d a platform document that did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Obama reversed the decision, and directed that Jerusalem be cited in the platform document. (SEE ALSO: DNC voting fiasco a reminder of need for voter ID laws)

Islamist groups, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters in the United States, oppose any recognition of Israel and its capital city.

But the brotherhood’s hostility is constrained by its need to revive Egypt’s stalled economy and to feed its population of over 80 million.

The Islamist government recently won promises of aid from Arab countries, and hopes to complete the $1 billion loan-forgiveness deal with Obama’s deputies by the end of the year.

The U-boat controversy began Sept. 31 when Egypt’s leading newspaper, Al-Ahram, reported that the country’s chief naval officer, Osama al-Gindi, said “We have agreed to a deal with Germany to procure two submarines of the latest 209 Class.”

The Type 209 submarines are among the most advanced non-nuclear submarines available. They’re made in Germany, which has a long history of submarine production. In German, a submarine is called a “unterseeboot,” which is translated into English as u-boat.

The Type 209 submarines can stay underwater for lengthy periods, are sufficiently quiet to elude easy detection and can launch attacks without being identified. They can carry 14 torpedoes, mines or missiles that can sink ships or destroy oil rigs.

Israel has already bought six of the U-boats to protect its trade routes from future attack by any of the many Muslim-majority states around the Mediterranean Sea. (WATCH: Palm Beach County Democratic Party chairman: Christians ‘want Jews to die and convert’)

Three of the U-boats are in Israel already, where they also are being used to protect Israel’s network of offshore drilling rigs that are developing the nation’s newly discovered underwater reservoirs of oil and gas.

Iranian frigate Alvand transits through the Suez Canal on February 22, 2011 bound, along with support ship Kharg, for the Mediterranean Sea on a purported training mission. (AFP/Getty Images)

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