Egypt’s Military Concludes Suez War Games
Egypt's Second Army has wrapped up a massive display of firepower during its current exercise near the Suez Canal, reported Middle East Newsline (MENL).
But Western defense sources were quoted as saying that the Egyptian exercise was far smaller than expected and shorter in duration than previous annual military maneuvers in the northeast.
Egyptian sources told the news service that the exercise included a mock infantry attack supported by tanks, artillery, F-16 warplanes, attack helicopters and air defense units. The exercise, attended by several foreign defense attaches, included night maneuvers.
The Bader exercise, the sources said, was meant to test Egypt's preparedness for war in the region as well as defensive capabilities. They said the main stage of the exercise ended on late Wednesday.
The five-day exercise was attended by Egypt's military brass, including Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi. Tantawi is also commander in chief of the armed forces.
The defense minister was quoted as saying that the exercise was meant to improve the capability of the military. He said developments in the Middle East require Egypt's military to be on alert and maintain a high level of combat ability.
"New factors in the region means it is imperative for armed forces to be vigilant, prudent, and maintain its combat capabilities and competence," Tantawi said.
Israeli military analysts have said that, due to the high probability of regional deterioration and concern for the future, Israeli military intelligence has updated its assessments of Egyptian intentions and strengthening of its army: "Egypt today is a danger, but not a threat.”
Egypt’s arsenal, military plans, alleged Korean missile program and the war games in Sinai have been in the headlines lately after the eruption of the palestinian Intifada and Cairo’s subsequent hardline stance in support for the Palestinians.
According to the US Central Intelligence Agency, Egypt spends $2.7 billion annually on defense (about 8.2 percent of its annual budget) but some Israelis have suspicions about that, accusing the US of hiding real numbers – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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