Egypt’s Joint Military Exercises in Sept
First: Bright Star Exercise
According to a statement from Egyptian military spokesperson Tamer El-Refaei, land, naval and air forces from Egypt, US, Greece, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, and France will participate in the BRIGHT STAR drills in addition to several countries, which were invited to monitor the drills, including Lebanon, Rwanda, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, South Africa, Senegal, and Canada. The exercise which was launched on Saturday, September 08, 2018, at the Mohamed Naguib military base, aims at exchanging experience and coordination between the forces participating in the exercises, standardizing concepts and improving skills of participants, as well as developing methods of operations and training on counterterrorism and non-traditional warfare.
The first BRIGHT STAR exercise was held in 1980 as a result of the Camp David Accords signed in September 1978. BRIGHT STAR 2018 builds on the strategic security relationship between Egypt and the United States, a historic partnership which plays a leading role in counterterrorism and regional security.
The Bright Star 2018 military exercise is a two-week multilateral exercise covering best practices on counterinsurgency, border control, and other irregular warfare challenges. The exercise comes in the framework of joint military training between the Egyptian military forces and forces from other countries, in order to improve and boost Egypt’s relations with its neighboring and friendly countries amid the current difficult times in the Middle East region. The exercises also include lectures, practical exercises as well as trainings on countering weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism.
US officials say Exercise Bright Star 18 is an opportunity to strengthen US relationship with Egypt as well as other partner nations. “This exercise is an important symbol of the long-standing strategic relationship between the U.S. military and the Egyptian Armed Forces, and one of the many ways that we partner with Egypt to address common threats to regional security. We look forward to the continued strengthening of the relationship through this military to military engagement,” says U.S. Embassy Cairo Charge d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger.
Bright Star 2018 included 186 diverse naval and air and special forces exercises, as well as many theoretical and practical lectures in the field of combating terrorism, ways to combat explosive devices and the implementation of non-standard shooting using ammunition of various weapons. The Bright Star 2018 training this year also addressed the topics of security cooperation, counter-terrorism and training on all scenarios of various threats in the context of conventional and irregular warfare and all critical tasks to combat the insurgency in Sinai.
Navy also carried out joint exercises to combat non-stereotyped threats to marine units in the sea, and in the same context Navy Special Forces elements participated in the trainings of break into suspect ships, the right of visit and inspection, provide support and medical evacuation of the injured, As well as training on marine mine action methods, detonation underwater, a joint training dive to survey a sea area, practical training on the neutralization of various types of mines, as well as the implementing of a joint air defenses and aerial combat training by air force elements to defend and attack a vital target and refuel in the air As well as providing air support to the ground forces to complete the implementation of all tasks.
The Bright Star activities also included a symposium for senior leaders of the participated countries in the training to discuss the topics of international terrorism and illegal immigration. The final phase of the training included implementing of a tactical exercise of shooting with ammunition of various weapons and with the participating of FTX forces in the presence of a number of leaders of the armed forces of the various participating countries, where the multi-mission fighter aircrafts carried out reconnaissance and aerial bombing against the resistance centers and the enemy’s convoys.
The armed anti-tank helicopters also engaged in destroying hostile targets and carrying out artillery attacks against “terrorist” groups and sources of firing, meanwhile the mechanical and armored detachments of Egypt, Jordan and the United States supported by anti-tank guided missile elements, air defense weapons and means to engage with air targets, were dispatched to complete the development of the attack and destroy all enemy targets as planned.
During the exercise, the great accuracy of targeting stable and movable objectives was shown, also the high ability to work together in full cooperation to achieve training objectives at the specified time and place. Approximately 800 U.S. military service members participated in BRIGHT STAR for the second year in a row, at the invitation of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
On the sidelines of the Bright Star 2018 exercise, there were several meetings between Egyptian and US military officials as well as inspection visits by Egyptian commanders as follows:
1- Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met on Saturday, Sept. 8, with Commander of the United States Central Command General Joseph Votel in the presence of Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Mohamed Zaki, according to Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady. “Sisi welcomed the launching “Operation Bright Star 2018” military drills, and reviewed the current developments of combating terrorism in all strategic aspects,” Rady added. Votel, for his part, lauded the strength of military relations with Cairo, expressing Washington’s interest in boosting bilateral ties in all domains. He said that Bright Star military drills reflect the importance and depth of military cooperation with Egypt in light of the challenges which threaten the stability of region and world. Votel highly appreciated Egypt’s efforts to eliminate terrorism, hailing the role played by Cairo to foster the regional security and stability. The meeting touched on ways of improving the military cooperation between the two countries in addition to the latest developments on the regional level. Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Thomas Goldberger was present at the meeting.
2- Egypt’s Minister of Defence General Mohamed Zaki met on Saturday, Sept. 8 with the Head of the US Central Command Joseph Votel where they discussed means of bolstering bilarteral military ties in light of the latest regional and international developments. In a statement, Egypt’s army spokesman Tamer El-Refaie said Minister Zaki expressed his appreciation of the partnership between the armed forces of both countries, hoping that the current period witnesses more joint cooperation in all fields.
The meeting also tackled Egypt’s efforts to combat terrorism and reach security and stability in the region. Zaki and Votel also discussed the Bright Star 2018 joint military drills, which are taking place at Mohamed Naguib military base in Egypt from 8-20 September with the participation of forces from Egypt, the US, and a number of brotherly countries. Votel also met with army’s Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mohamed Farid to discuss a number of issues and topics of mutual interest, including the joint Bright Star drills. The meeting was also attended by a number of armed forces commanders.
3- On Sept. 10, General Joseph Votil, Commander of the US Central Command, accompanied by the commander of the Northern Military Zone, Major General Staff Adel Ashmawi inspected forces participating in the joint training activities Bright Star 2018.
4- Maj. General Mohamed Zaki, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defense, inspected on Sept. 11 a number of training activities planned by an airbase that would be carried out by elements of the Air Force of participating countries in the Bright Star 2018 exercise.
5- Lt. General Mohamed Farid, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, witnessed on Sept. 18 one of the main stages of the “Bright Star 2018” exercise, which was carried out by members of the armed forces of Egypt, the United States of America, Jordan, Italy, France, Britain, Greece and Saudi Arabia and the UAE with the participation of observers from 16 countries. Farid listened to a detailed explanation of the tactical idea and the topographic and tactical directing of the exercise area. The exercise included infiltration of an armed terrorist outpost in a border residential area and purging it of any terrorist elements, the stage included the elements of the paratroopers forces in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia doing a free jump behind the enemy lines to audit information.
6- Lt. General Mohammed Farid, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, met on Sept. 17 with Michael Garrett, Commander of land Forces, US Central Command, and his accompanying delegation as they are currently visiting Egypt. The two sides discussed the aspects of joint military cooperation, which culminated in the recent period in the exercises of Bright Star 2018, which is being implemented at the Mohammed Najib military base with the participation of Egyptian and American forces and a number of friendly and fraternal countries. The meeting also discussed the developments in the Middle East, regional and international efforts to eliminate terrorism and restore security and stability in the region.
Second: Egyptian-Pakistani Joint Exercises
During the visit of the Pakistani warship (PNS SAIF) to Egypt on Sept. 19, elements of the Egyptian and Pakistani naval forces carried out maritime training across the Mediterranean. The training included the implementation of sailing formations, the implementation of the right of visit and inspection of suspected vessels, training on the exchange, take-off and landing of helicopters on the roofs of joint maritime units and the carrying out of day-night Communications. The training aims to unify operational concepts, transfer and exchange of experiences and identify different martial beliefs in a way that supports efforts to achieve stability and maritime security in the region. On the sidelines of the training, the ship’s captain, a number of its crew and the Pakistani military attaché placed a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Alexandria.