Thursday, August 18, 2011

US-Egypt military exercises cancelled

US Marines participate in Operation Bright Star exercises October 23, 2001 on Egypt's north coast.

Source: Press TV

The United States and Egypt have decided to cancel this year's planned military exercises dubbed Bright Star, as pressure builds up on the US-backed military rulers of the North African nation.

"The Bright Star military practice was called off exceptionally this year given the political situation in Egypt," an Egyptian army official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The biannual military drills, the largest of their type in the region, date back to 1981 and are an outgrowth of the Camp David Peace Accords between Egypt and Israel.

The next Bright Star drill will be held in 2013 and formal planning meetings are due in June, 2012, a US military source said.

The US has spent tens of billions of dollars on Egypt's army by providing technology and training. The US military aid to Egypt totaled $1.3 billion in 2010.

However, the historic revolution that led to the downfall of Egypt's former dictator Hosni Mubarak, a staunch ally of the US, has cast doubts on ties between the two countries.

Following the overthrow of Mubarak, Egyptian people have repeatedly condemned the country's military rulers for cracking down on protesters demanding a democratic transition to a civilian government and this will add fuel to fire on the relations between the old allies.

US officials have conveyed their concerns to Egypt's military about growing anti-Americanism in the country.

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