Egypt has added a new military naval base in the eastern Mediterranean, around 140 kilometers away from the Egyptian-Libyan border and oriented towards the western strategic direction
This ensures full coverage of Egypt’s northern coasts in combination with other military bases, from the farthest point in the northeast at the port of Al-Arish, to the Mohamed Naguib military base in the middle of the northern coast and finally the Third of July base.
It comes following the establishment of the southern fleet in the Bernice military base, which was inaugurated around a year and a half ago. The Bernice base is located on the Red Sea, covering the eastern and southern strategic directions.
According to the inauguration document of the base released by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, also the supreme commander of the armed forces, the Third of July base represents a new addition to the northern fleet, oriented towards the west.
The Third of July base is responsible for securing Egypt’s economic interests, protecting sea lines of communication and maritime security, using both surface combatants and submarines.
The speech of the Commander of the Egyptian Navy Lieutenant General Ahmed Khaled included four main messages:
First, the base is part of the Navy’s comprehensive modernisation programme and is the largest in Egypt, covering 10 million square metres. It is one of five such naval bases that will provide logistical support for the armed forces in the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea. This base will help counter smuggling operations and illegal immigration, and secure Egypt’s economic resources at sea.
Second, the base is built in accordance with the international standards and is equipped to carry out joint trainings and missions with friendly countries. The base comprises 47 modern naval vessels from the Egyptian fleet.
Third, the base sends a message of peace, security, cooperation and stability in the region, which is key to achieving development.
Fourth, its name comes in memory of a great day in Egypt’s modern history where the forces of extremism were faced by thought and development.
Armament experts in Egypt affirm that the Third of July base reflects Egypt’s military engineering capabilities, which has achieved a qualitative leap in the naval armament field.
The base was inaugurated in parallel with the challenges that still exist in Libya, including the continued flow of weapons despite the UN embargo, making Libya among the biggest passageways of weapons in the world.
Security challenges also extend through Africa, especially the areas of tensions in Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Mali.
Military expert Nassr Salem said this base is not directed at any one party; it is rather a message to any force that can pose a threat.
The five new bases are an integrated system for the defence of the more than 2,200 kilometer-long coastal strip to the north and the east.
Some of the naval vessels are also mobile military bases that roam the eastern Mediterranean.
Concerning strategic cooperation and military diplomacy, Egypt has signed military cooperation statements with many international and regional powers in the Gulf and Africa. Enhancing Egypt’s military capabilities in this regard will foster this strategic cooperation.
A Libyan political source said the choice of the site of the Third of July base is meant to be a strategic deterrent.
The source said the base supports the security of all Arabs, noting that Egyptian influence and geographical position oblige the country to take these steps.
He added that the foreign interference has had a negative impact on Libyan sovereignty. He said Egypt has defended Libya and been a supporting force for Libyan sovereignty.
The source said the new Egyptian base bolsters the strategic partnership between Egypt and Libya.