Bahrain navy gung-ho on coalition security effort for Gulf
ABU DHABI — Bahrain is the only Gulf state participating in a Western-sponsored
coalition to protect the Gulf from Iran and Al Qaida.
Bahrain has become the first Gulf Cooperation Council state to join the
Combined Maritime Forces, or CFT-152, designed to ensure commercial shipping
throughout the Gulf. The GCC kingdom has contributed several surface vessels
for patrols with the navies of Britain, France and the United States.
Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and naval component of Central
Command, conducts regular exercises with the U.S. Navy in the Gulf, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said Manama has also participated in multilateral exercises.
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"What we try to do in the coalition is not try to do their [GCC states]
work, because it is the responsibility of each country, and Bahrain has a
very good record at doing these sorts of things consistently and well," said
Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
as well as the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Cosgriff said Bahrain's participation in CFT-152 has bolstered Gulf
security operations. He expressed the hope that other GCC states would
decide to join the 20-member coalition, which has also been fighting piracy
in the Gulf.
"But we could team with a country like Bahrain, or other regional
countries and provide an additional layer," Cosgriff told a briefing on July
"I've been working here since February with the military and I've been
uniformly impressed with the quality of the officers and sailors in the
Bahrain Navy and other members of the Bahrain forces," Cosgriff said.
In 2006, Bahrain joined the first multilateral security exercise in the
Gulf, organized by the United States. The exercise was meant to test
the coalition's ability to track and intercept a shipment of weapons of mass
destruction to Iran. Bahrain is located about 120 kilometers from Iran.
"We watch what their [Iran's] ships do when they go to sea, and of
course they watch what our ships do, too," Cosgriff said. "We are not trying
provoke them. We operate consistently and openly inside the Gulf and outside