CAIRO: Armed forces from five Arab countries joined Egypt’s military on Saturday at the start of 13 days of maneuvers aimed at reinforcing their joint combat capabilities.
The exercises in Egypt, called Arab Shield 1, are taking place at the Mohammed Najib Military Base and joint Mediterranean air and sea training zones.
Forces from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan are taking part, with Morocco and Lebanon as observers.
The maneuvers will allow the armed forces to “develop military relations, face common challenges and support efforts toward security and stability in the region,” said Col. Tamer Rifai, spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces.
“The training aims to develop joint action among Arab countries,” he said.
“They will gain mutual experience of fighting in cities and participating in the implementation of Arab training based on the possibility of joint military action.”
Egyptian MP Tareq Hassanein said the exercises sent a strong message that the Arab world recognized the dangers facing it.
The US plans to hold a summit in January to launch a new Arab military alliance, similar to NATO, that will include nine countries led by the Gulf Cooperation Council states, in addition to Egypt, Jordan and the US. The aim is to counter Iranian aggression.