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Persian Gulf Arab states, US ‘to hold war games in Kuwait’

The member states of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) and the US are set to conduct joint military exercises in Kuwait, Saudi sources say.

The sources told Saudi al-Ekhbariya satellite television channel on Saturday that the 23-day war games, dubbed Hasm al-Uqban 2017, will be launched on March 19.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that Saudi forces had arrived in Kuwait.

The Kuwait Ministry of Defense said that the drills were aimed at boosting the military capabilities of the PGCC countries.

The first round of the Hasm al-Uqban maneuvers had been carried out in Bahrain back in 1999, and the upcoming ones in Kuwait will be their 14th round.

Brigadier Mohammed bin Ibrahim al-Rabie, the Commanding Officer of the Saudi units taking part in the Kuwait drills, claimed that the war games would be among the greatest in the region.

The maneuvers come at a time when the PGCC finances have been hit by falling oil prices and the costs of the war on Yemen. The PGCC member states — with the exception of Oman — have been cooperating with Saudi Arabia in its deadly military campaign against Yemen since March 2015. The US is also providing huge amounts of arms and military training to the Saudi-led forces.