Peninsula Shield
The Peninsula Shield Force (or Peninsula Shield) is the military side of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf , also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council , is a political and economic union of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf and constituting the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates...

 (aka the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC). It is intended to deter, and respond to, military aggression against any of the GCC member countries: Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...



In 1984 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) decided to create a joint military force of 10,000 soldiers divided into two brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

s, called the Peninsula Shield Force, based in Saudi Arabia near the Kuwaiti and Iraqi borders. The PSF is composed of infantry, armor, artillery, and combat support elements from each of the GCC countries. In 1992, the Peninsula Shield Force was headed by a Saudi Arabian, based near King Khalid Military City
King Khalid Military City
King Khalid Military City is a special city in northeastern Saudi Arabia and about 60 km south to Hafar Al-Batin City, designed and built by the Middle East Division, a unit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the 1970s and 1980s. The consultants were Brown, Daltas, and Associates in...

 at Hafar al Batin, and had one infantry brigade of 5,000 men from all the GCC member states. As of late 2006, the Peninsula Shield Force had 7,000 personnel and functioned as a joint intervention force to defend the joint border of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. In November 2006, the GCC Joint Defense Council considered a Saudi proposal to expand the capabilities of the Shield and to establish a joint command and control system.

In December 2007, Kuwait's National Security Council chief Shaikh Ahmed Fahad Al Ahmed Al Sabah announced that the GCC plans to create a replacement for the Peninsula Shield Force. He stated that "the GCC options would always be unified just as they were when leaders declared the establishment of a common market at the Doha Summit."

Leadership and structure

, the Peninsula Shield Force is commanded by Major General Mutlaq Bin Salem al-Azima and has about 40,000 troops and continues to have its permanent base at King Khalid Military City
King Khalid Military City
King Khalid Military City is a special city in northeastern Saudi Arabia and about 60 km south to Hafar Al-Batin City, designed and built by the Middle East Division, a unit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the 1970s and 1980s. The consultants were Brown, Daltas, and Associates in...

 near Hafar al Batin.

According to Peninsula Shield Force commander al-Azima, any intervention by the force must include participation from all GCC member states.


Peninsula Shield Force did not react militarily to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, exposing the forces deficiencies. It was deemed so ineffective during that build-up, that the General Khalid bin Sultan
Khalid bin Sultan
Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is the Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation of Saudi Arabia. He led Saudi troops in the First Persian Gulf War and also controversially led the botched Yemen bombing in late 2009...

 was forced to disband it and return its elements to their respective national units.


The force was used in 2003 prior to the invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 in late March.


On 14 March 2011, Peninsula Shield forces, requested by the Bahraini government, entered Bahrain via the causeway from Saudi Arabia. Forces were from Saudia Arabia and the UAE. This was the first GCC deployment in relation to an internal threat. In late March, Peninsula Shield Force commander al-Azima stated that the role of the force in Bahrain is to "secure Bahrain's vital and strategically important military infrastructure from any foreign interference" and to protect Bahraini borders while Bahrain security forces are "preoccupied with [Bahraini] internal security". He denied that the force caused any Bahraini citizen to "suffer so much as a scratch", and said that the force entered Bahrain "to bring goodness, peace, and love".
The 2011 Bahraini intervention involves about 10 percent of the Peninsula Shield Forces. Every military unit present in Bahrain includes soldiers from all six GCC member states.

Frequent Saudi Arabian street protests
2011 Saudi Arabian protests
The 2011 Saudi Arabian protests have been influenced by the Arab Spring that started with the 2011 Tunisian revolution. One of the main online organisers of a planned 11 March "Day of Rage", Faisal Ahmed Abdul-Ahad , was alleged to have been killed by Saudi security forces on 2 March, by which time...

 in and near Qatif
Qatif or Al-Qatif is a governorate and urban area located in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. It extends from Ras Tanura and Jubail in the north to Dammam in the south, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to King Fahd International Airport in the west...

 in mid to late March, originally calling for political prisoners to be released, extended to opposition to the Peninsula Shield Force's presence in Bahrain.

External links

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