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Eyeing Iran, PGCC Plans Joint Command
National

Eyeing Iran, PGCC Plans Joint Command

Bahrain’s foreign minister has announced a plan by the Persian Gulf Arab states to launch a joint military command based in Saudi Arabia in response to security challenges facing the bloc, among them alleged threats from Iran.
In an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said the joint command force, which is set to have several hundred thousand soldiers under its control, would begin military operations after a [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) summit due to take place later this month in Qatar. According to the Financial Times, the new command is to focus on defensive operations and will coordinate with the [P]GCC’s naval command based in Bahrain and its air command in Saudi Arabia. The announcement came following a report last month by the Associated Press that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are in discussion to create a military pact to take on militant groups, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East.  
Bahrain has accused Iran of interfering in its internal affairs and inciting the Shiite majority against the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family, something that Tehran has strongly denied. The country saw large scale pro-democracy protests in 2011 that was quelled by the Manama government in cooperation with the Peninsula Shield Force, the military arm of the [P]GCC.

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