The heads of Arab Gulf armies wrapped up Wednesday a 17-day military exercise of the Joint Gulf Force - the Peninsula Shield - by stressing their “strength” and “capability” to deter their enemies and defend the oil rich region.
Held mainly in Kuwait, the military drill was aimed at “activating the concept of joint defense... and implementing the unified defense strategy of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states,” Brigadier Abdulaziz al-Rayes, Head of Kuwaiti Army Public Relations, earlier told KUNA news agency.
He added that “the exercise was prescheduled and agreed for years. It is unrelated to any regional or political events.”
Fahad al-Shulaimi, Chairman of Gulf Security and Peace Forum told Al Arabiya that the Peninsula Shield has passed through many stages and developments since its formation in 1982.
“Every three months there is a meeting or an exercise. This high volume of exercises and meetings for sure will succeed in creating a joined work,” he added.
Shulaimi emphasized that the GCC is united and faces one common threat, apparently referring to Iran. “No one wants to see any military conflict in the region, but we wish for stability.”
“The Peninsula Shield war games aim at bolstering military cooperation, the application of the joint defense strategy, development of the sense of collective security and unity among GCC countries,” Deputy Chief of Staff of Kuwaiti Army Lt. General Abdelrahman Al-Othman said.
“It also sends a clear message that the GCC states are ready to protect their security, stability sovereignty and activate the concept of joint defense,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Peninsula Shield Force Commander Major General Mutlaq bin Salem Al-Azima thanked all participating military units on their performance. “The impressive success of this maneuver is the fruit of non-stop cooperation among GCC militaries and the high professionalism and training of GCC Forces’ personnel,” he said.
Azima also described the Peninsula Shield as a force of stability and peace in the region. “GCC forces do not flex muscles or impose a threat on any country, but rather they are a force of stability and peace in the region and the whole world, as are led by wise peace-loving leaders,” he said.
Azima reiterated that the Peninsula Shield exercises in Kuwait was prescheduled and had nothing to do with recent developments in the region. “Peninsula Shield annual exercises are planned in advance till 2024,” he said, adding that the 10th military maneuver will be held in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Army Chief-of-Staff General Hussein Al-Qubail said the well planned maneuver was precisely implemented.
Bahraini Chief-of-Staff Major General Duaij bin Salman Al-Khalifa said the exercise is the best response to any force that dares to threaten GCC stability. “The well trained and well-equipped GCC force has the ability to deter any enemy and protect the GCC states,” he said.
The Peninsula Shield force was formed by the six GCC member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) in 1982 as a 5,000-strong force but has since expanded to more than 30,000 troops.
Source: Al Arabiya; KUNA