Joint GCC naval force planned to protect waters

Joint GCC naval force planned to protect waters
Updated 17 October 2014

Joint GCC naval force planned to protect waters

Joint GCC naval force planned to protect waters

KUWAIT CITY: Arab states in the Gulf plan to launch a joint naval force, a top Kuwaiti defense official said on Wednesday, in a bid to protect waters shared with neighboring Iran.
The new force is expected to be formed in the “coming months,” Maj. Gen. Ahmad Yussef Al-Mulla was quoted as saying by the official KUNA news agency.
The Gulf Cooperation Council states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — formed the Peninsula Shield force in 1982 as a 5,000-strong army.
Al-Mulla said military officials from the six nations were still working out details for the naval force, which will be organized in a similar way to the joint ground forces.
The size of the force will depend on the “level of external threats for Gulf marine security,” he said.
The six states share thousands of kilometers of shoreline along the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea — bodies of water also patrolled by Iran’s powerful navy. They have a population of 50 million, about half of them foreigners.


Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area
Updated 41 min 41 sec ago

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area
  • Moving Israel under the Central Command potentially makes security cooperation with the US on regional matters easier
  • The move could bring Israeli military officials in closer proximity to those of Gulf neighbors

WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department announced Friday that it would include close ally Israel in the area covered by its Middle East-focused Central Command.
In another sign of the rapprochement brokered by President Donald Trump between Israel and Arab countries, the Pentagon said US military dealings with Israel would no longer be handled by its European Command.
“We structure boundaries to best mitigate risk and protect US interests and partners,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“The easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the Abraham Accords has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East.”
That was mainly a reference to Iran, which the United States, Israel and Arab countries view as the leading security threat to the region.
For decades at odds with its Arab neighbors over its treatment of Palestinians, Israel has over the past year broken barriers on open cooperation and communications with Gulf countries under the Trump-fostered Abraham Accords.
Moving it under the Central Command potentially makes security cooperation with the United States on regional matters easier, and could bring Israeli military officials in closer proximity to those of Gulf neighbors.
But it could also complicate CentCom cooperation with Iran allies like Iraq, where the US retains 2,500 troops.
“Israel is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our US Central Command partners, while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies,” the Pentagon said.