Peninsula Shield Joint Forces Commander Major-General Mutlaq bin Salem al-Azima said Tuesday in an interview with Al Arabiya that GCC troops will stay in Bahrain until it wards off foreign threats and stressed that the presence of those troops in the Gulf nation is in accordance with council treaties and upon the request of Bahraini government.
The mission of the Peninsula Shield, the joint troops of the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), was determined in advance by the military and political leaderships in Bahrain, Azima told Al Arabiya.
“The role of the troops is to protect strategic sites whether marine or air bases as well as military camps outside the cities and they do not take part in Bahrain’s internal affairs” he said.
Azima expressed his surprise about the spread of rumors regarding the mission of the troops in Bahrain even though the island-nation is quite small and well-equipped with a network of sophisticated satellites.
“The presence of diplomatic missions and military attachés confirms Bahrain’s statements about what the troops are doing in the country.”
When asked about the duration of the troops’ presence in Bahrain, Azima replied that the mission of Peninsula Shield will end with the restoration of security in Bahrain.
“The troops will stay until foreign threats are warded off. Till this happens, the troops will remain to serve the military leadership of the kingdom of Bahrain.”
Azima said that the Peninsula Shield forces are fully supported by the GCC on both the political and military levels and that millions of dollars were allocated to the installation of highly sophisticated communication systems to link the troops in of the council’s member states.
Azima ended his talk with two messages. The first message revolved around the relationship between GCC members.
“We are alright and the Peninsula Shield troops are alright. We might have disagreements, but when it comes to our joint destiny, our word is one.”
The second message was in the form of a warning regarding any attempts at destabilizing the region.
“We have instructions from our top leadership that we are tools of peace and that we will never attack, but in the meantime, we will never allow anyone to attack us.”
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)