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GCC moves to implement unified military command

New structure to be umbrella for land, sea and air forces

Gulf News

Manama: Practical measures to activate the unified Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) unified military command endorsed in Bahrain this week are set to be taken soon, a report has indicated.

The measures will be decided by special committees under the umbrella of the GCC joint defence agreement, Saudi Arabic daily Okaz reported on Thursday.

The setting up of the unified command for the six GCC member states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — was one of the highlights of the 33rd summit held on Monday and Tuesday in Bahrain.

Officials in the Bahraini capital said that the unified command would be an umbrella for the all existing military forces and that it would not replace or minimise the role of the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the GCC set up in 1984.

The GCC has a naval force in Bahrain, a land force in Saudi Arabia and an aerial force and the unified command will be the umbrella for all of them, the Saudi daily said.

The Joint Defence Agreement was signed by the GCC leaders at their summit in Manama in 2000.

The Arab Gulf states have been pushing for better and more coordinated joint military defence efforts amid reports of higher threats and security challenges in the region.

A common security pact was also endorsed at the Bahrain summit this week following amendments to some of its clauses “to bring them in line with requests by some member countries.”

The security agreement reportedly aims to increase Gulf capabilities in the global combat against terrorism risks and threats.