Joint US-Egypt Bright Star military exercises resume after eight-year hiatus
The joint US-Egypt Bright Star military exercises resumed yesterday at the Mohamed Naguib military base in Egypt after an eight-year hiatus. The exercises run through 20 September, according to an Armed Forces statement. The wargames focus on counterterrorism strategies and facing modern security threats. Egyptian and Russian paratroopers also began the Protectors of Friendship 2017 counterterrorism drills in Russia on Saturday. The exercises will run until 22 September.
The US-Egypt war games come amid strained relations between the two countries (an angle being played up heavily in the foreign press) after the US Senate’s Foreign Aid Appropriations Committee approved withholding up to a quarter of the USD 1.3 bn in military and economic aid to Egypt and the State Department suspended nearly USD 290 mn in aid. The cut was ostensibly over Egypt’s human rights record, but others point to Egypt’s relationship with North Korea. On that front, the DPRK illegally exported coal, iron and other commodities worth at least USD 270 mn to countries, including Egypt, in the six-month period ending in early August, UN sanctions experts said in a report on Sunday. North Korea exported iron and steel products to Egypt, China, France, India, Ireland and Mexico valued at USD 305,713 between October 2016 and May 2017, reports the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi sent a congratulatory note to North Korea on the anniversary of its founding. AMAY ran the story citing MENA news agency.