Report: GCC Countries Wary of Egyptian Defense Plan
Gulf Cooperation Council members appear wary over an Egyptian plan to participate in regional defense efforts, according to a report by Middle East Newsline (MENL).
The concern, Gulf defense sources told the news service, stems from the assessment that Egypt might disrupt what they term the delicate balance between the six GCC members. The sources point to Egypt's strategic ties with Iraq, regarded as a leading threat to Gulf nations.
"The question is once you rely on Egypt, how do you stop this dependence from growing?" a defense source asked. "The suspicions are high."
Cairo has proposed contributing to a GCC defense network that would not include Egyptian troop deployment in the Gulf. Instead, the GCC would link its early-warning and communications system to that of Egypt in an effort to ensure coverage of the Red Sea.
According to MENL, the Egyptian proposal has been raised by President Hosni Mubarak in several GCC capitals. The plan has also been discussed with the United States, which is being asked to join the Gulf network.
Egypt has argued that its systems can easily integrate with those of the Gulf. Both use Western-based data links and command and control operations. The inter-operability extends to Saudi Arabia's Airborne Warning and Control System, manufactured by Boeing. The range of the AWACS extends past the Red Sea and into Egypt, said the report.
Previous reports said that Kuwaiti Defense Minister Jaber Al Sabah had not ruled out Egyptian participation – Albawaba.com
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