This week, military forces from the United States and seven other nations began arriving at Egypt’s Mohamed Naguib Air Base for the beginning of Operation Bright Star 2018. The joint military exercises, which have been held between Egypt and the United States since 1980, help to improve military readiness and coordination in the Middle East, and also have come to symbolize the close relationship between the two countries.
Read more about Operation Bright Star 2018 and other key stories you may have missed in this week’s email, including:
- U.S. Forces Arrive at Egyptian Airbase for Start of Joint Military Exercise ‘Bright Star 2018’
- Bloomberg: In a Nod to Reforms, Moody’s Raises Egypt Credit Outlook
- Al Azhar Denounces Sexual Harassment
- President El Sisi Meets H.H. Pope Tawadros II and International Coptic Youth Delegation
- Egypt Tourism Revenues Up 77%; Tourism Minister Rania El Mashat to Promote Destinations through Entertainment Events
U.S. FORCES ARRIVE AT EGYPTIAN AIRBASE FOR START OF JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE ‘BRIGHT STAR 2018’
U.S. military personnel and equipment arrived at the Mohamed Naguib Air Base in Egypt this week in preparation for the joint military exercise Bright Star 2018, which is scheduled to take place from 8 to 20 September. Land, naval and air forces from Egypt, the United States, Greece, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Italy and France will take part in the exercise. The joint military drills, which aim to promote stability and military readiness in the region, will include the exchange of expertise among participating forces, and will help develop operations and training mechanisms for combating terrorism and confronting maritime threats. According to Ahram Online, the exercise also highlights the strength of military relations between Egypt and the U.S, in addition to the strategic partnership binding the two nations.
BLOOMBERG: IN A NOD TO REFORMS, MOODY’S RAISES EGYPT CREDIT OUTLOOK
This week, Bloomberg’s Ahmed Feteha noted that Egypt’s credit outlook was raised from stable to positive by Moody’s Investors Service, citing progress in implementing a program backed by the International Monetary Fund to bolster economic growth and repair public finances. “The substantial progress made by the government in implementing reforms agreed with the IMF has imparted a degree of financial stability not present earlier in the decade,” Moody’s said. Per Bloomberg, Moody’s also highlighted in its note that signs of business environment reforms “offer the prospect of a sustainable, inclusive growth path capable of improving competitiveness and absorbing the country’s rapidly expanding labor force.”
AL AZHAR DENOUNCES SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Egypt’s Al Azhar Mosque, widely accepted as the most authoritative center of learning in Sunni Islam, issued a statement this week denouncing acts of sexual harassment as haram (sin). According to Egypt Independent, Al Azhar said in its statement that it “stresses that harassment is haram and deviant behavior, and whoever commits it is guilty of sin. It is also a repugnant act to normal people, and it is rejected by all laws and religions.” Al Azhar further asserted that the criminalization of harassment and harassers must be absolute, impartial from any condition or context and called for laws to be enforced to that effect. Al Azhar also called on concerned institutions to raise awareness of the forms of harassment and its dangers.
PRESIDENT EL SISI MEETS H.H. POPE TAWADROS II AND INTERNATIONAL COPTIC YOUTH DELEGATION
On Wednesday, 29 August, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with H.H. Pope Tawadros II and a delegation from the First International Youth Forum of Egypt’s Coptic Church. According to a statement released by the Office of the Presidency, President El Sisi “welcomed the young Copts from the world’s various continents, who are participating in the first ever forum for the youth of Coptic expatriates,” and “underscored the importance of this forum which seeks to link Egyptian expatriates and the new generations with their homeland”. President El Sisi also “underscored his profound appreciation of and respect for the Egyptian Church under the leadership of H.H. Pope Tawadros II,” and “reiterated that over the ages, national unity in Egypt has always been firm, and its Muslims and Copts have always been sharing strong bonds of brotherhood and co-existence.”
EGYPT TOURISM REVENUES UP 77%; TOURISM MINISTER RANIA EL MASHAT TO PROMOTE DESTINATIONS THROUGH ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS
According to Reuters, Egypt’s tourism revenue jumped 77% in the first half of 2018 to around $4.8 billion compared with the same period last year. Additionally, this week Tourism Minister Rania El Mashat revealed a new strategy to promote Egypt’s touristic destinations through organized entertainment events. According to Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), Minister El Mashat noted that the Ministry’s plan will focus on establishing contact with different peoples around the world to brief them on the historical, humanitarian, cultural and artistic aspects of the Egyptian civilization under the rubric of “People to People.”