Report

U.S. Renews Military Ties with Egypt with Strategic Dialogue

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo over the weekend for the first U.S.-Egypt strategic dialogue since 2009. The meeting comes as the United States delivered six F-16s, and Kerry said the United States is ready to resume its Bright Star military exercises with Egypt; a hold on military aid was lifted earlier this year, ...

GettyImages-482743038

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo over the weekend for the first U.S.-Egypt strategic dialogue since 2009. The meeting comes as the United States delivered six F-16s, and Kerry said the United States is ready to resume its Bright Star military exercises with Egypt; a hold on military aid was lifted earlier this year, though Egypt has made little progress on the human rights and democracy concerns that prompted it. Kerry cautioned Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that the indiscriminate use of force can enable terrorism more than reduce it, saying that “The success of our fight against terrorism depends on building trust between the authorities and the public. If that possibility does not exist, then, regrettably, more misguided people will be driven to violence and there will be more attacks.” Kerry underscored the need for greater respect for human rights for practical reasons, but Shoukry pushed back, especially on the issue of 18 jailed journalists who Shoukry said are “accused of implication with terrorist activity” and “in a state of due process.”

Kerry also discussed the Iran nuclear agreement, saying that the deal, “if implemented, will make Egypt and all the countries of this region safer than they otherwise would be.” After concluding the dialogue in Cairo, Kerry flew to Qatar for talks this morning with Gulf Cooperation Council governments.

U.S. to Defend Some Rebels from Assad, Other Rebel Groups

After months of ambivalence, the U.S. government has declared its policy on support for U.S.-trained rebels operating in Syria. U.S. and coalition forces will provide air support for the rebels’ offensive operations against the Islamic State, and will provide defensive support should the rebels be attacked by other factions in the civil war, including Assad regime forces.

Headlines

  • An Assad regime jet crashed into a busy market in Ariha, Syria, this morning while conducting airstrikes, wounding or killing dozens of people.

 

  • Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels, vowed to fight on in a new speech and dismissed the loss of Aden, claiming it only occurred because Houthi fighters returned home to celebrate the end of Ramadan with their families.

 

  • In a televised speech making the case for the nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told his public that the negotiations were a “Herculean task” that could usher in “a new atmosphere” that could speed diplomatic resolutions in Syria and Yemen.

 

  • A 16-year-old girl who was stabbed at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem last week has died of her wounds; five others were injured in the attack.

 

  • The Iranian government will stop paying $15-per-month subsidies to the wealthiest 1 million citizens to ease a budget crisis; the payments have been paid to all Iranians since 2010 to offset reductions to food and energy subsidies.

Arguments and Analysis

Countering the Islamist Violence Rising in Egypt” (Mokhtar Awad and Brian Katulis, Wall Street Journal)

“These dynamics run deeper than the Muslim Brotherhood and its reactions to the overthrow of President Morsi. That’s a big reason the U.S. and Egypt should discuss this fluid and fragmenting security landscape as partners–without lectures or diatribes. This is not the first time Egypt has faced an Islamist insurgency. Many Egyptian officials know — and sometimes acknowledge — that the absence of economic development in the Sinai has contributed to an environment in which militants thrive, and that torture in prisons, sexual abuses, and a lack of a resolution to the Brotherhood problem all stoke tensions. The continued absence of a parliament and a political environment even more repressive than that under Hosni Mubarak are not sustainable.”

 

Chaos in the Arab world suits Russia’s domestic propaganda” (Nikolay Kozhanov, Chatham House)

“If the Middle East did not exist, Moscow would definitely have to invent it. Chaos in the Arab world has offered the Kremlin a convenient opportunity to shape public opinion at home on such issues as the legitimacy of the regime, its confrontation with the West and the situation in Ukraine. As a result, for the past two years, Middle East unrest has become one of the most popular topics discussed by Russian journalists and politicians. Many middle and working-class Russians are nostalgic for the ‘imperial’ glory of the USSR, and the Kremlin gives them what they want. Russian support for Damascus, close relations with Tehran and rapprochement with Egypt are presented as the restoration of the Kremlin’s influence that was lost after 1991.”

-J. Dana Stuster

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola