In an interview with the Saudi newspaper Okaz, Al Azaima provided
details of GCC deployment in Bahrain. The Saudi general said the Peninsula
Shield mission marked about five percent of total capability.
"Our mission is to protect Bahrain from any external aggression, as well
as its vital institutions, strategic centers, camps and military bases," Al
Azaima said on April 4.
The Shi'ite opposition said the Saudi Arabian contingent marked the
largest foreign military presence in Bahrain. Opposition sources said Saudi
soldiers were participating in raids of Shi'ite strongholds.
Al Azaima said the Bahraini mission reflected a resurgency of Peninsula
Shield, deployed for the first time since 2002. He said the GCC would
conduct regular exercises as the six states
seek to enhance regional defense and security.
"The forces will possibly return once, twice or three times for training
and performing joint exercises with our dear GCC countries," Al Azaima said.