Sen. Inhofe Calls for U.S.-Led Regime Change in Egypt

It came over seven hours into an eight-hour hearing. It was buried beneath Washington’s frenzy over defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel’s lackluster performance. And it was overshadowed by Republican senators’ relentless day-long attacks on Hagel over Iran, Israel and nuclear weapons.

But it happened. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., used his debut performance as Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member to call for regime change in Egypt. After Washington’s expensive — in terms of bot blood and treasure — and controversial attempts at regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq, Inhofe wants America to give it another go by installing a more pro-U.S. leader in Cairo.

Here’s what Inhofe said, according to a transcript, late in last Thursday’s infamous SASC confirmation hearing (emphasis added):

“I have kind of been the leader in — on postponing any further Abrams Tanks or F-16’s to — to Egypt until such time as that government is under control. This is my own statement, only representing my own thoughts,” he said. “I think [Mohammed] Morsi’s an enemy. I think their — their military is a friend. And there was a vote a little while ago to do away permanently with the sending of any — any of this equipment to Egypt.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. What I think is a good idea is to continue to use that as leverage. If you do that, you lose the leverage,” Inhofe said. “And I believe we will be in a position right now, Morsi has already distanced himself from the military. To me that’s a first good step. And I would like to think that we could reinstate a friend — a friend in that area.”

Skepticism about Morsi, a longtime Muslim Brotherhood member, is nothing new in Washington. But — since a new leader could not be installed unless the current one is uninstalled — calling for the United States to pursue a regime-change mission in Egpyt certainly is new. For Inhofe, it certainly was a memorable debut as SASC’s top Republican. And his tenure could prove even more memorable.

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett