US Cancels Military Exercise with Egypt

The United States will not conduct the Bright Star training exercise with the Egyptian military in September due to the escalating violence by Egyptian security forces against civilians, said President Obama on Thursday. “While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said in remarks in Chilmark, Mass., on Aug 15. The US action came after nearly 600 people died in clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in the past several days, with thousands more injured, according to press reports. Obama did not go so far as to suspend military aid to Egypt. Last month, the White House did delay the delivery of new-build F-16s to Egypt due to the deteriorating political situation there. Also on Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he told Egyptian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah al Sisi that the Pentagon would “continue to maintain a military relationship with Egypt,” according to a statement. “I made it clear that the violence and inadequate steps towards reconciliation are putting important elements of our longstanding defense cooperation at risk,” said Hagel.