Russia, Egypt Holding Joint Military Drills, Enhancing Bilateral Relations

Russian Airborne units have been sent to Egypt to take part in joint military drills, the first such bilateral exercise in Africa, reported RT.

Armored personnel vehicles and quadbikes are among the hardware being taken by the Russian side. “International [military] exercises of the Russian and Egyptian Airborne forces on the African continent are being conducted for the first time,” as announced by the Russian Defense Ministry.

The drill, codenamed “Defenders of Friendship 2016” is starting today aiming to practice joint anti-terrorist actions. Last year Russia and Egypt conducted a joint naval training exercise codenamed “Friendship Brigade 2015.”

The media sources following the warming relations between Egypt and Russia pointed that the training will include 500 infantrymen, 15 warplanes and 10 combat vehicles. The trainings will take place amid recent media reports pointing that Egypt will allow Russia to use its military bases as well as its air force for launching military strikes in the Middle East and Africa. But Egypt rejects these reports, as reported by al-Masdar.

At the time, as the Unites State of America is busy in its elections, the Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to dominate the Middle East with steady steps.

Throughout the past years, Russia tried to spread its influence in the Middle East through investing massive amount of money and taking diplomatic steps to achieve its target. However, it was faced by a strict American stance in most of the cases.

With the Arab Spring and the Unites States of America’s hesitant policy towards the revolutions and the overthrown Arab leaders (once supported by US), Russia has diffused in this political vacuum by enhancing the military and diplomatic relations with the old-new regimes in these Arab countries (The old autocratic regimes have restored themselves once again after the Arab Spring revolutions through military coups as the case was in Egypt)

The war in Syria has paved the road for Putin to fulfil his dreams: Russian military forces, air force system, warplanes and warships have poured to Syria to defend the Syrian regime despite the US rejection.

In addition, Russia has succeeded in enhancing its relation with Egypt – the most major Arab country. According to Russian media, Putin wants to establish a Russian military base west of Alexandria. However, Egypt’s presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef denied these media reports.

Now the Egyptian Russian relations are enhanced militarily and commercially. These relations have been reflected in the latest Egyptian vote in the United Nations in favor of the Russian resolution and against freezing the Russian air force strikes in Aleppo. The Egyptian vote which came against US stance points to a new phase of the Egyptian Russian rapprochement and probably distancing from the United States of America.