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Bahrain hosts GCC counterterrorism exercises

Bahrain hosted all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) earlier this week for a joint military exercise focusing on counterterrorism drills, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

The training drill was named "Arab Gulf Security One" and according to Bahrain's Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, one of the main reasons behind the exercise is to send a "message that the six GCC states support each other against any threat."

Additionally, the drill is being carried out as a measure to move forward with a unified security force within the GCC, a long-held ambition that saw a partial genesis in the Saudi-led Gulf Shield force that put down the Bahraini Shia uprising in March 2011.

The Bahraini revolt was largely accepted by many to have been backed by Shia Iran, across the Arabian Gulf from the diminutive Arab island monarchy.

The training drills include scenarios such as operations to cover "invasion, rescue and the handling of insurgents." Security threats from extremist organisations and other adversaries are also being addressed by simulation exercises.

"Arab Gulf Security One" is scheduled to continue into next week, and the GCC member states' military exercises will include emergency response, counterterrorism and border security.

The GCC have been stepping up their counterterrorism capabilities as individual states as well as collectively through joint exercises and coordination, as threats from extremist groups and rival Iran have heightened since 2003.

BahrainGCCInternational OrganisationsIranMiddle EastNews
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