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Thursday, October 20, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Egypt, Saudi navies to hold exercise in Red Sea

CAIRO — Egypt and Saudi Arabia have concluded arrangements for a major naval exercise.


Officials said the two Arab navies would conduct the Marjan naval exercise in the Red Sea in December. They said Marjan would be held in Saudi territorial waters and seek to enhance interoperability as well as combat skills.

"There will be a range of scenarios," an official said.

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Officials said Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council kingdom have enhanced defense and military relations over the last year. They said the two countries were engaged in three military exercises per year. Marjan, begun in the late 1990s, has taken place in the Red Sea while Faisal was designed for air combat training. Tabouk was meant to increase cooperation between the armies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Egypt has been asked to consider membership in the six-nation GCC.

Officials said most GCC members were encouraging Cairo to help the Gulf Arab states in military and security operations amid the threat from neighboring Iran.

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