The Saudi and Emirati militaries have arrived in Greece to begin joint exercises with the Greek and Egyptian militaries, in what they are hailing as further cooperation between allied states.
The Royal Saudi Land Forces' paratroopers and special security forces arrived in the Elefsina airbase north-west of the Greek capital Athens yesterday and were welcomed by the Emirati Colonel Khaled Abdullah Al-Olayan.
According to the Saudi Ministry of Defence, the joint exercise is being carried out to enhance military cooperation between friendly and brotherly countries, to exchange training and experience, and to increase the level of combat readiness in order to confront challenges in the region.
No details were given as to what those regional challenges are, but the joint exercise comes amid the re-emergence of tensions between Turkey and the Gulf Arab states, along with Greece.
Despite Turkey's attempts to patch up relations and reconcile with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, those efforts seemed to be in vain when the Arab League accused Turkey of interfering in the region.
It comes as an alliance against Ankara has been steadily developed over the past two years, in which Saudi Arabia boycotted Turkish goods, the UAE plotted to tie down the Turkish military in Syria, Greece militarised the Aegean islands close to the Turkish coastline, and Egypt attempted to foil Turkey's interests in the eastern Mediterranean.
The joint exercise between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Greece, and Egypt – beginning tomorrow – is set to further that cooperation, which many see as an attempt of continued hostility against Ankara in the region.