JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Several Gulf and Middle Eastern countries have combined with a number of African nations for a joint military drill in Saudi Arabia, amidst heightened tensions in the region following devastating attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.
Navy forces from Gulf and Mideastern states Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and Yemen, have joined with the northeastern African country of Sudan, and two Horn of Africa countries, Somalia and Djibouti, for the drill which got underway on Sunday.
The Red Wave 2 exercise "aims to unify and enhance the maritime security of the countries bordering the Red Sea, protect territorial waters and strengthen military cooperation,'' Commander of the Saudi Western Fleet Vice Admiral Saqr bin Mohammed Al-Harbi was quoted as saying by Saudi Arabia's official SPA news agency on Monday.
The drill also aims, he said, to enhance cooperation and standardization of military concepts, raise combat readiness and exchange experiences between the participating countries.
The military drill follows the Saturday 14 September 2019 attacks on the Saudi Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia, which sharply impacted global oil supplies. The al-Houthi rebels fighting a war in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks, however the United States and Saudi Arabia say they were originated by Iran. The UK on Monday also said there was a 'high probability' that Iran was behind the attacks. Tehran however has denied any role in the attacks.
The U.S. on Friday announced it was sending troops to Saudi Arabia and the UAE at the request of those two countries.