Today, an unclear quantity of armed forces and observers from eight Arab countries will begin military exercises across Egypt. The
Today, an unclear quantity of armed forces and observers from eight Arab countries will begin military exercises across Egypt.
The exercises, “The Shield of the Arabs 1”, will take place over the course of two weeks and include air, ground, naval and special forces from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan. Military representatives from Lebanon and Morocco will be present as observers.
Some unrealistically believe successful exercises today could mark the genesis of an “Arab NATO.” They have cited the relative cohesion of the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes (which includes all of the states, minus Lebanon, participating in today’s drills) against Iranian-backed Houthi forces fighting in Yemen as an example of “successful” Arab-states joint military action, even though Saudi-led forces have been unable to uproot the Houthi forces in over three years of airstrikes.
However, it is incorrect to assume that a single instance of tactical cooperation in Yemen is indicative of the future success of a defence pact. Questions stand as to whether organising an “Arab NATO” would be practically possible. Arab states unanimously agreeing to the enormous commitment of a mutual defence clause like NATO’s Article V appears unlikely given current diplomatic tensions in the region over issues such as Qatar.
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