The Navy of the United States is leading a 30-nation maritime exercise across the Middle Eastern waters that it says will aid to protect the international trade routes against the potential threats, including from al Qaeda & IS (Islamic State).
The exercise that is partly being held in Arabian Gulf comes as pressures run high between Iran and the Gulf Arab countries over its role in region, including its backing for Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad in the civil war in Syria, for Houthis in Yemen conflict & Hezbollah in Lebanon.
IMCMEX (International Mine Countermeasures Exercise) had started on Monday with a conference in Bahrain where the United States Navy’s 5th Fleet is established, in part as a fortification against th Iran.
Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said on Saturday that the exercise was intended to stop the militants from causing disturbance to shipping as, “we know that they want to disturb the trade lines”.
“This region provides a strong training opportunity for the nations worldwide as 3 of the 6 major maritime chokepoints in world are here: the Strait of Bab Al Mandeb, the Strait of Hormuz, and Suez Canal,’’ said Donegan.
On Thursday, John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State had appraised the security collaboration with Bahrain during a visit to Gulf monarchy saying it a “critical security partner”.
Barack Obama, the President of the United States will attend a summit on 21st April in Riyadh with Gulf Cooperation Council states – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar – on Iran’s part in the region.