US and Egyptian Armed Forces are set to resume joint training exercises known as “Operation Bright Star” from September 10-20, after an eight-year hiatus, with a focus on anti-terrorism training, the spokesperson for the Egyptian military said in a statement on Tuesday.
The operation will take place at Mohamed Naguib military base, and will address “security cooperation, anti-extremism and terrorism, examining various scenarios related to 21st century threats, including traditional and irregular warfare,” according to the statement.
This follows a visit by US Secretary of Defense James Mattias to Cairo in April, during which he discussed the resumption of the joint training program, and its focus on counter-terrorism.
Operation Bright Star began in 1981, intended to be a bi-annual program, before it was halted from 1989-1993 due to the US-led military operation to retake Kuwait from Iraq. It was resumed, but stopped again in 2003, due to the US invasion of Iraq, and again in 2011 when the uprising occurred in Egypt.
The US Embassy in Cairo denied on August 8 that the program would resume, saying there had been no official announcement yet about Bright Star.
A similar training program is scheduled to take place in Krasnodar, Russia, between Egyptian and Russian Armed Forces this month.
In late August, the US announced a decision to deny US$95.7 million in grants and aid to Egypt, as well as to delay the disbursement of $195 million in military aid because of “Egypt’s failure to respect human rights and democratic norms.” This took Cairo by surprise, particularly after mutual statements of admiration between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Donald Trump, and a history of the US waiving conditions and delivering military aid anyway.