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WikiLeaks: Egypt focused on Israel as foe

Dec. 31, 2010 at 9:26 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Despite a decades-old peace treaty, Egypt views Israel as its main military threat, frustrating U.S. diplomats, documents released by WikiLeaks indicate.

The diplomats expressed their annoyance with Egyptian leaders in the communications, saying that Egypt honed in on preparing for war with Israel while ignoring threats such as terrorism and weapons smuggling, Arutz Sheva, Israel's national news Web site, reported Friday.

"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 counter-terrorism," said one document said. "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 ground forces and armor."

A communication to U.S. Gen. David Petraeus before a 2008 visit to Egypt called Egyptian Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi a "chief impediment" to U.S. efforts to engage the Egyptian military in fighting modern-day threats, Arutz Sheva said.

"During his tenure, the tactical and operational readiness of the Egyptian Armed forces has decayed," the memo said.

WikiLeaks recently released more than 250,000 classified U.S. State Department cables. The whistle-blower Web site earlier released documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Topics: Arutz Sheva
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