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Wikileaks: Egypt's Military Focus is on 'Enemy' Israel

Leaked documents show U.S. frustration as Egyptian military focuses on Israel while neglecting struggle against terrorism.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 12/31/2010, 12:03 PM / Last Update: 12/31/2010, 12:13 PM

Flash 90

Documents revealed by Wikileaks show that Egypt continues to see Israel as its primary military threat despite a decades-old peace treaty. Egypt and Israel fought against each other in four wars before signing the treaty in 1979.

United States diplomats have been frustrated as Egyptian leaders focus on being prepared for war with Israel while ignoring threats such as terrorism and weapons smuggling.

“The United States has sought to interest the Egyptian military into expanding their mission in ways that reflect new regional and transnational security threats, such as piracy, border security, and counterterrorism," said one leaked file.

"But the aging leadership, however, has resisted our efforts and remained satisfied with continuing to do what they have done for years: train for force-on-force warfare with a premium on grounds forces and armor."

A leaked memo addressed to U.S. General David Petraeus ahead of a 2008 visit to Egypt warns that Egyptian Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi in particular is the “chief impediment” to U.S. efforts to involve the Egyptian military in fighting modern threats. “During his tenure, the tactical and operational readiness of the Egyptian Armed forces has decayed,” the memo stated.

While America pressures Egypt to update its tactics, Egypt requests a boost in military funding, apparently in hopes of buying advanced weapons and achieving military parity with Israel. Other leaked files reported that Egyptian officials are pushing for more than the $1.3 billion in annual military aid that Egypt currently receives from the U.S.

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