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Egypt is one of the largest spenders in the defence sector in the Muslim world.

They have only two theoretical adversaries in the region: (1) Israel and (2) Turkey.

They have a peace treaty with Israel, and they don't have any historical animosity with Turkey. Their geographic location is also not very complex.

So, why do they spend so much on defense?

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2 Answers 2

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Egypt spends 1.2% of GDP on defense. That is not all that much.

Egypt has 100M inhabitants making it one of the biggest countries in the Middle East, so in absolute terms its spending will look big compared to its just-as-poor neighbors.

Egypt runs a conscription army with about 440k military. Each soldier is going to cost a fixed minimum amount.

Egypt is facing some level of Islamist insurgency nowadays, though much of the military budget predates that. Countering insurgencies can be either considered a police/intelligence matter or a military matter and if it's the latter, you need the defense budget to match. Note that spending on paramilitaries is a bit of a gray area wrt Egypt.

Last, but not least, Egypt is under a military government. Toys for the boys is a common refrain under military governments in poor countries. A number of South American countries have historically had fairly big militaries compared to the credible regional threats they were facing.

More reading

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If you need a simple answer:

Actually, Egypt has been under a military dictatorship since 2013; it is like all modern dictatorships, the Egyptian government needs the consent of Western countries such as France, Italy, etc. And unfortunately, the best way to get these countries' consent is to buy weapons. In 2019 alone, Italy sent weapons to Egypt for an amount of 872 million euros ...

Resources :

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  • This does not seem to align with the existing answer showing it to be a small part of the budget and comments on the question indicating that spending has decreased.
    – Joe W
    Oct 25, 2022 at 23:50
  • Hi Joe; I don't know what's where you see the missing information; pls read my answer again Oct 26, 2022 at 10:04
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    You claim they are spending money because they are a military dictatorship while the accepted answer is suggesting that they don't actually spend much money in comparison to their GDP and other comments suggest that they have been decreasing their military spending. Your answer does not address either of those points. While they might be a military dictatorship that does not mean that they are spending an unexpected amount of money in comparison to their GDP.
    – Joe W
    Oct 26, 2022 at 12:18

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