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Sunday, 10 May 2020

US looking to reduce peacekeeping troops in Egypt’s Sinai to trim Department of Defense budget?

US looking to reduce peacekeeping troops in Sinai to trim Department of Defense budget? The Trump administration reportedly wants to cut back on US troops stationed in Sinai as part of an international peacekeeping force mandated by Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, the Wall Street Journal reports. The US has contributed troops to the Multinational Force and Observers since its inception in the early 1980s and currently has 400 troops deployed among the 1.1k-strong force. But in a break with long-standing policy, Pentagon officials are considering withdrawal as part of a “cost-cutting review to take stock of U.S. military operations around the world,” the WSJ says.

The US State Department and Israel aren’t on board with the suggested move and the “issue will be raised” between Tel Aviv and Washington, Israeli Energy Minister and security cabinet member Yuval Steinitz said on Friday, according to Reuters. The proposed drawdown comes after a terrorist bombing against Egypt’s military in North Sinai’s Bir El Abd and two retaliatory raids in the peninsula last week left a total of 146 terrorists and 25 members of the Armed Forces dead (here and here).

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