U.S.-Egypt resume annual military exercises canceled by Obama in 2011

by WorldTribune Staff, September 6, 2017

The United States and Egypt have agreed to resume the “Operation Bright Star” military exercises.

Egyptian troops come ashore from a U.S. hovercraft on the Egyptian coast during Bright Star maneuvers on Oct. 23, 2001. / AP

The bi-annual exercises had been held since 1981, but were postponed by the Obama administration in 2011 following the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and brought to power the pro-Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi. The drills were scrapped altogether in 2013.

Col. Tamer el-Rifai, a spokesman for the Egyptian army, said the 10-day military exercises would begin Sept. 10 and include anti-terrorism training.

“Operation Bright Star is among the most important joint American-Egyptian exercises as they reflect the depth of relations,” el-Rifai said in the statement.

Maj. Adrian J. Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the exercises on Sept. 5, saying “approximately 200” U.S. forces would participate.

“We have worked closely with our Egyptian partners to ensure the timing and circumstances were right to conduct this valuable exercise,” Rankine-Galloway said. “This has been an important series of exercises since 1981, and it’s a good thing for our military-to-military relationship to return to Bright Star again.”

The Obama administration suspended American military aid to Egypt following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Obama released the aid two years later.

Egypt relations with the Trump administration have also been strained. Last month, the United States cut or delayed some $300 million in military and economic aid over human rights concerns.

U.S. President Donald Trump later called Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi and stressed he was intent on developing the relationship between their countries and overcoming any obstacles that might affect it.

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