As Egyptians prepare for massive protests against the U.S. government-backed Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration is set to deploy hundreds of American troops to Egypt. While more than a few analysts have argued that U.S. forces will be used to continue propping up “Islamofascists” in the Middle East, authorities from both governments claim the soldiers are merely being sent as part of a nine-month international “peacekeeping” scheme.
According to official accounts, the so-called “Multinational Force and Observers” (MFO) mission, composed of troops serving 13 governments, is aimed at controlling riots and violence. Another primary purpose, government spokesmen claimed, is enforcing the 1979 peace treaty between Israeli and Egyptian authorities. News reports and official statements suggest the American troops, serving under MFO command, will be operating security checkpoints and responding to threats.
The exact date of deployment has not been announced yet, but U.S. troops spent some six months training at Fort Hood and Fort Irwin for the mission and will reportedly be ready to go in the “near future.” Local U.S. media reports, citing military officials, said American forces had been trained for riot control featuring exercises with Molotov cocktails and other “dangerous items” in anticipation of violent protests. Another possibility would be protecting the border with Israel, according to reports.
Two soldiers quoted in a KCEN-TV report offered few details as video of U.S. troops wearing police riot gear flashed on the screen. "Just what I've seen over the course of the past week, this unit is already far more ready for this type of threat than we were a week ago," said Lt. Matthew Wilkinson without elaborating on the nature of the threat. Another, PFC Perez Alexander, explained: "We want to be as professional as possible so that, whatever situation we encounter, the opposing force knows that we mean business and we know what we're doing."
The American soldiers, whose training ended last week, are set to be deployed in the dangerous and volatile Sinai Peninsula. Security has continued to deteriorate throughout the region following the uprising that swept longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak from power, with some analysts suggesting the escalating unrest could spark problems for both Israel and the increasingly hardline Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo.
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Photo of U.S. troops training at Ft. Irwin