Major-General Omer Hassan Baba'eer, commander of the Peninsula Shield, said today that his forces are in Kuwait at the request of its government and are cooperating with the Kuwaiti army in enhancing the nation’s defensive capabilities. Maj. Gen. Baba’eer praised the excellence of his forces performance in spite of the difficult desert environment and denied reports that some of the forces had resigned, or that any of them had been disarmed.
The Peninsula Shield forces represent the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Formed in 1985, the Peninsula Shield developed gradually to become a deterrent with military weight, especially following the signing of the GCC Joint Defense Treaty. In accordance with that treaty, the Peninsula Shield is the first line of defense, after its own army, for any member state that faces a military threat, but operates only at the request of the threatened state. When Kuwait recently made a request for Peninsula Shield forces to be stationed in its territories, the joint GCC Defense Council responded positively. They were in place by March 4, 2003, working in cooperation with the Kuwaiti command to defend the State of Kuwait.