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Arab Shield 1: Five Arab Armies to Take Part in Military Drills in Egypt

The “Arab Shield 1” war games aim to strengthen military cooperation and ensure security and stability in the region.


Ground, air, and naval units from Arab countries are arriving to Egypt for war games in a military exercise titled “Arab Shield 1”, set to take place from November 3rd to 16th at the Mohammed Najeeb Military Base in Al Hammam area, west of Alexandria, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The war games include land, naval and air special forces, with the goal being to strengthen joint military cooperation between Egypt and other Arab countries in order to build combat capabilities and deliver common goals.

The participating countries are Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Morocco, though the last two mentioned are only participating as observers.

“The drill comes as part of the joint training plan carried out by the Egyptian armed forces with many other countries to develop military relations, face common challenges, and support efforts for security and stability in the region,” further explained the statement issued by the Egyptian Armed Forces.

This statement comes a little over a month after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the nations participating in the upcoming war games, with the addition of Qatar and Oman to advance the idea of establishing a Sunni alliance against Shiite and non Arab-Iran. However, the statement by the Egyptian military made no link between “Arab Shield 1” and the proposed alliance dubbed Arab NATO.

“The exercise comes in the framework of strengthening joint military cooperation between Egypt and Arab countries, to build the combat capabilities of the armed forces, and achieve common objectives,” the statement added.

Arab NATO is not exactly a new idea – it was proposed in 2018 at an Arab summit held in Egypt, but a meeting between military chiefs of staff to further advance talks details was cancelled and never rescheduled.

At the end of September, it was reported that US deputy assistant secretary of state for Arabian Gulf affairs Tim Lenderking confirmed plans that a summit will be held in January to launch the “Arab NATO”, which is actually called MESA, and it includes the US, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.  

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