The Egyptian and Sudanese air forces started Nile Eagles 2 joint training

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The Egyptian and Sudanese air forces conducted a joint exercise Wednesday in northern Sudan’s Marwa Airbase with the participation of Special Forces (thunderbolt) from both countries.

The drill, dubbed “Nile Eagles 2,” aims to improving the forces’ skills in carrying out joint air operations, a statement released yesterday by the Egyptian Armed Forces explains. The exercises started with delivering instructions and organizing cooperation in a way that unifies concepts and sharpens skills needed to manage joint air operations in high competence.

The Egyptian and Sudanese units also conducted joint sorties to attack hostile targets and protect vital and civilian targets, the statement continued. Mohamed Othman, chief of staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces, high-ranking soldiers from Sudan and some senior commanders from the Egyptian Air Force took part to the training. Also, the special forces of both countries trained on storming, concealment, and camouflage as well as sniping. This joint military initiative comes as regional tensions in Nile Valley are increasing.

Chief of Staff of Sudanese Armed Forces General Mohamed Othman checked up on the forces taking part in the exercises and listened to a summary of the exercises’ stages. Othman also witnessed the take-offs and the air exercises praising the harmony among the Egyptian and Sudanese forces. According to local media, the exercises are aimed at training forces participating in the exercises on planning and accomplishing air operations as well as measuring their readiness for accomplishing joint missions on different missions.

Egypt and Sudan have launched joint military exercises last November, in the latest sign of deepening security ties between the Nile Valley neighbors.The exercises run by Egyptian and Sudanese commando and air forces were the first joint combat training held since the ouster of Sudanese autocrat Omar al-Bashir last year.

The joint military initiative “Nile Eagles 1” came less than a month after former US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, paving the way for the African country to be integrated into the international community. That move from the White House followed Sudan’s decision to start normalizing ties with Israel, a key US ally in the region.

According to VOA news quoting Mirette Mabrouk, a senior fellow and director of the Middle East Institute’s Egypt Studies Program, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is being filled could ratchet up tensions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The expert suggested last year that military aggression is “option Z” in a long list of strategic moves, but remains possible.A satellite image taken May 28, 2020, shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia.

If nobody wants that kind of conflict, if Egypt and Sudan have their backs up against the wall, it may be a final option. In mid-July, reports emerged that Ethiopia had begun filling the 70 billion cubic meter dam, which lies along the Blue Nile tributary of the Nile River. The claims were backed by satellite images, which appeared to show the dam filling. Ethiopia had previously attributed the water to seasonal overflow.

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