Egypt, France Begin Joint Military Drill in Red Sea

The Egyptian and French navies conducted an exercise at the Red Sea base, with the French vessel, Courbet, taking part. 

A group of Egyptian and French vessels participated in an extensive training aiming to boost cooperation between both armed forces, master the latest systems and techniques of naval warfare as well as maximize the mutual benefits for the armies of both countries.

The training includes the implementation of many activities such as the use of modern tactics to counter threats against maritime security, fight terrorism and protect vital targets against non-traditional security threats.

The joint naval exercise also comprises advanced training on formations for sailing during day and night, while demonstrating the ability of participating naval units to take positions with a high degree of accuracy and speed.

Egypt and France have deloped strong military ties and cooperation since the military coup of 2013.  However, many rights groups have criticized France for aiding Egypt’s repressive ruler and ignoring Egypt’s rights dire record.

In October 2018, Amnesty International criticized the French government and accused it of breaking its own rules over arms exports it has made to Egypt. The rights group says the weapons have been used for the internal repression of civilians.

Amnesty’s said that the Egyptian security forces were firing on protesters from within French supplied armored vehicles.

It says that “the evidence clearly shows French supplied Sherpas and MIDS vehicles being used during some of the bloodiest incidents of internal repression,” against civilians.

he statement mentions the clearing by Egyptian security forces of two sit-ins in Cairo on August 14, 2013, in which hundreds of protesters were killed.

Amnesty analysis shows that the Egyptian security forces used French supplied military equipment to violently crush protests between 2012 and 2015.

Between 2012 and 2016 France supplied more arms to Egypt than it had in the previous 20 years; and in 2017 alone it delivered more than 1.4 billion euros worth of military and security equipment to Egypt.

It is appalling that France has continued to provide Egypt with military equipment after it was used in one of the most deadly assaults on protesters witnessed anywhere in the 21st century.

On 14 August 2013 French-supplied Sherpa armored vehicles were used in Cairo by Egyptian security forces to disperse sit-ins across the city. In what is now known as the Rabaa and Nahda massacres, the Egyptian security forces killed up to 1,000 people, the largest number of protesters killed in a single day in modern Egyptian history.

In the same context, other human rights groups have blasted France for what they call playing a part in Egypt’s “bloody repression” of dissidents by providing the government of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi with state-of-the-art weapons and surveillance systems.

Groups including, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the French-based International Federation for Human Rights, the Human Rights League and Armaments Observatory, said that Egypt has been using French military and surveillance equipment to stifle all critical voices against the Sisi government.

“By supplying Egyptian security services and law enforcement agencies with powerful digital tools, they have helped establish an Orwellian surveillance and control architecture that is being used to eradicate all forms of dissent and citizen action,” the groups said.