Peninsula Shield Force

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The Peninsula Shield Force[1][2] (or Peninsula Shield[1][2]) (Arabic: دِرْعُ الجَزيرَة‎) is the military side of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (aka the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC). It is intended to deter, and respond to, military aggression against any of the GCC member countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Creation[edit]

In 1984 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) decided to create a joint military force of 10,000 soldiers divided into two brigades, called the Peninsula Shield Force, based in Saudi Arabia near the Kuwaiti and Iraqi borders.[1] The PSF is composed of infantry, armor, artillery, and combat support elements from each of the GCC countries.[citation needed] In 1992, the Peninsula Shield Force was headed by a Saudi Arabian, based near King Khalid Military City at Hafar al Batin, and had one infantry brigade of 5,000 men from all the GCC member states.[1] As of late 2006, the Peninsula Shield Force had 7,000 personnel and functioned as a joint intervention force to defend the joint border of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.[citation needed] In November 2006, the GCC Joint Defense Council considered a Saudi proposal to expand the capabilities of the Shield and to establish a joint command and control system.[citation needed]

In December 2007, Kuwait's National Security Council chief Shaikh Ahmed Fahad Al Ahmed Al Sabah announced that the GCC plans to create a replacement for the Peninsula Shield Force. He stated that "the GCC options would always be unified just as they were when leaders declared the establishment of a common market at the Doha Summit."[2]

Leadership and structure[edit]

As of March 2011, the Peninsula Shield Force was commanded by Major General Mutlaq bin Salem Al Azima and has about 40,000 troops[3] and continues to have its permanent base at King Khalid Military City near Hafar al Batin.[3]

According to Peninsula Shield Force commander AlAzima, any intervention by the force must include participation from all GCC member states.[3]

Use of the Shield[edit]

1990–1991[edit]

The Peninsula Shield Force was not sufficiently developed to be deployed in defence of Kuwait ahead of the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990.[4] A force of about 3,000 men from the PSF, in addition to forces of its member states, took part in the liberation of Kuwait in March 1991.[5]

2003[edit]

10,000 troops and two ships of PSF were deployed to Kuwait in February 2003 ahead of the Iraq War to protect Kuwait from potential Iraqi attacks. It did not participate in operations against Iraq.[5][6]

Role in Bahraini uprising[edit]

On 14 March 2011, Peninsula Shield forces, requested by the Bahraini government, entered Bahrain via the causeway from Saudi Arabia. Forces were from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Kuwait and Oman refrained from sending troops.[7] The Bahraini uprising was the first GCC deployment in relation to an internal threat.[8] In late March, Peninsula Shield Force commander al-Azima stated that the role of the force in Bahrain is to "secure Bahrain's vital and strategically important military infrastructure from any foreign interference" and to protect Bahraini borders while Bahrain security forces are "preoccupied with [Bahraini] internal security".[3] He denied that the force caused any Bahraini citizen to "suffer so much as a scratch", and said that the force entered Bahrain "to bring goodness, peace, and love".[3]

The 2011 Bahraini intervention involves about 10 percent of the Peninsula Shield Forces. Every military unit present in Bahrain includes soldiers from all six GCC member states.[3] In October 2011 the Peninsula Shield announced its intention to sue “a number of satellite TV channels for propagating lies and allegations about the Peninsula Shield forces that entered Bahrain”. This followed persistent claims by these channels about the Gulf forces strafing demonstrators with warplanes and destroying mosques.[9]

Frequent Saudi Arabian street protests in and near Qatif in mid to late March, originally calling for political prisoners to be released, extended to opposition to the Peninsula Shield Force's presence in Bahrain.[10][11][12][13]

American urging of closer defense ties[edit]

Chuck Hagel called for greater defense cooperation in the GCC, including block sales of American arms to the organization.[14]

On 11 December 2013, the GCC announced the formation of a joint military command.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC]". GlobalSecurity.org. 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Gulf Daily News – Plan to replace Peninsula Shield". International Institute for Strategic Studies/Gulf Daily News. 2007-12-09. Archived from the original on 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Muqbil Al Saeri (March 2011). "A talk with Peninsula Shield force commander Mutlaq bin Salem Al Azima". Asharq al-Awsat. Archived from the original on 29 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  4. ^ European Union (2003). The Middle East and North Africa. Routledge. p. 1297. ISBN 1857431324. 
  5. ^ a b Ravi Shekhar Narain Singh Singh (2005). Asian Strategic And Military Perspective. Lancer Publishers. p. 375. ISBN 817062245X. 
  6. ^ Malcolm C. Peck (2010). The A to Z of the Gulf Arab States. Scarecrow Press. p. 31. ISBN 0810876361. 
  7. ^ GCC Members Consider Future of Union
  8. ^ Bronner, Ethan; Michael Slackman (2011-03-14). "Saudi Troops Enter Bahrain to Help Put Down Unrest, page 1". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2011-03-17. , Bronner, Ethan; Michael Slackman (2011-03-14). "Saudi Troops Enter Bahrain to Help Put Down Unrest, page 2". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  9. ^ http://asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=26784
  10. ^ "Several injured in Saudi Arabia protest". Press TV. March 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  11. ^ "Kuwait Navy set for Bahrain – Saudi Shias Rally". Arab Times. 2011-03-18. Archived from the original on 2011-03-19. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  12. ^ Johnston, Cynthia; Samia Nakhoul (2011-03-21). "Saudi Shi'ite protests simmer as Bahrain conflict rages". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  13. ^ Benham, Jason (2011-03-25). "Hundreds of Saudi Shi'ites protest in east". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 2011-03-25. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  14. ^ MUSTAFA, AWAD (7 December 2013). "Hagel: US to Sell Weapons to GCC States as a Block". www.defensenews.com. Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "Gulf Nations Announce Joint Military Command". atlanticcouncil.org. Atlantic Council. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 

External links[edit]