US considers scrapping military exercise with Egypt following pro-Morsi crackdown
The US is reconsidering the launch of a joint military training exercise with Egypt after Egyptian security forces killed dozens of supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, US officials said Thursday.
The scenes of violence and devastation in Cairo on Wednesday seems to have caused doubt in the US administration that forming a military alliance through a training exercise with the Egyptian army is a wise idea.
The crackdown on pro-Morsi demonstrators may have forced US President Barak Obama's government to consider taking a stronger approach towards the Egyptian military, Reuters reported.
The Egyptian military toppled Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, on July 3.
The US provides $1.3 billion to Egypt in military aid every year and some $250 million in economic assistance, according to Reuters. Since the ousting of Morsi, reports suggest the US is unwilling to cut this funding over fears that this may antagonise the Egyptian army and cause a backlash again US citizens and Israel, the US' strongest ally in the Middle East.
As a means of signalling displeasure to the Egyptian government in the wake of the violence, which killed over 200 people across the country on Wednesday, two US officials told Reuters on the condition of anonymity that the US government is seriously considering calling off the "Bright Star" training exercises.
The "Bright Star" exercises occur once every two years and are "a major point of pride for the Egyptian military," according to Reuters.
“They’re taking a hard look at it,” a U.S. official told Reuters.
- Morsi detained for 15 days in prison for 'inciting violence' against protesters
- Egyptian riot police clash with students at Azhar University
- Morsi travel ban imposed as top advisor says 'military coup underway'
- Egypt hands 19 Morsi supporters lengthy prison sentences
- Dozens of pro-Morsi protesters clash with police across Egypt