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.
The military drill, held mainly in Kuwait, was aimed at “activating the concept of joint defense... and implementing the unified defense strategy of the Gulf Cooperation Council 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.”
Responding to a recent threat by a Shiite militia group in Iraq, Peninsula Shield Force commander General Mutlaq Bin Salem al-Azima said GCC army is capable to deter regional threats. He stressing that the Peninsula Shield is “one of the strongest forces in the world.”
Al-Mukhtar Army, the newly formed militia of Iraq’s Hezbollah, had threatened to target Saudi Arabia as well as Kuwait.
Besides defending Shiites in Iraq, Hezbollah chief Wathiq al-Babat, warned that his newly-formed militia will “liberate” Saudi Arabia and vowed to target Kuwait for building a major port just over the border from the site of Iraq’s Umm Qasr harbor.
The Iraqi government, however, has issued an arrest warrant for Batat but media reports surfaced that he has escaped to Syria.
The GCC, which signed major arms deals with Western powers, including the purchase of highly-advanced military equipment from the United States, has technological superiority in comparison to other armies in the region. But Iran’s missile and naval powers are seen to pose a challenge to Gulf military forces.