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Egypt to host 'Arab Shield' war games

Egypt's army will take part in military drills with Arab nations this month [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 November, 2018

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Cairo said forces from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan will take part in the exercises codenamed "Arab Shield".

Egypt's military will team up to with ground, air and naval units from five Arab nations for large-scale war games in the west of the country.

Cairo said forces from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan will take part in the exercises codenamed "Arab Shield" from 3-16 November. 

Wednesday's statement follows an announcement from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in September on uniting Arab nations to create an anti-Iran alliance.

Pompeo met in New York with foreign ministers from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to advance the project to form a so-called Arab NATO.

Comment: 'Arab NATO' would be a disaster for democracy

"All participants agreed on the need to confront threats from Iran directed at the region and the United States,"  the State Department said in a statement.

It added that the ministers had "productive discussions" on setting up what is to be known as the "Middle East Strategic Alliance" (Mesa) to promote security and stability in the region.

The proposed alliance follows the derailment three years ago of efforts to create a joint Arab force agreed by a 2015 Arab summit.

Analysts have predicted the latest attempt to unite the Arab countries would face a stumbling block over its member states' varying foreign policies and outlooks. One reason for the blockade of Qatar was because Doha's foreign policy diverged from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Since June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt, have been boycotting Qatar, over accusations Doha is not doing enough to fight extremism, financing terrorism in some cases and getting too close to Iran. Qatar categorically denies the charges.

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