Iraq: January 30, 2002


The six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE) have agreed to form a joint defense council and to expand the Peninsula Shield force from a 5,000-man brigade to a 20,000-man division by the end of next year. The smaller nations have been concerned over Saudi dominance of the alliance and regard it as little more than a way for Saudi Arabia to absorb their armed forces, but recent moves to develop a distributed command & control system and build a new base for Peninsula Shield near the Saudi-Iraqi border have eased these concerns to some extent.--Stephen V Cole


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