UAE-US in joint military drill ‘Iron Union 6’

By Mohammed al-Jayousi in Manama


Emirati and US armed forces take part in the 'Iron Union 6' joint training drill, which kicked off January 14th and will continue through January 28th. [Photo courtesy of the Emirati News Agency, WAM]

Emirati ground forces are currently engaged in a massive joint training exercise with the US army to increase the combat readiness of both sides and enhance their ability to respond to security threats.

"Iron Union 6", which kicked off January 14th and will continue through January 28th, is a manifestation of the strong ties between the two countries, UAE political analysts said.

The joint drill is designed to serve their common security interests, and is expected to yield benefits by honing the skills and increasing the combat readiness of all military units to respond to regional security threats.

The two-week drill is being conducted on UAE territory.

The exercise is the most prominent in the region and will see the largest number of participating troops, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Strong bilateral ties

UAE political analyst Abdullah al-Mutawa pointed to "the strong and exceptional relations between the UAE and the US" and noted that these relations are "strategic and important and not limited to the military aspect".

They also extend to include political and economic co-operation, he said.

"The UAE is a strategic ally of the US in all areas of joint co-operation and co-ordination," al-Mutawa said, noting that military co-operation is growing and developing in complexity due to the security challenges facing the region.

"It is not surprising that the UAE is holding the largest military exercise of its kind with our US ally," he added, noting that military co-operation between the two countries is well established.

"It has been ongoing for decades in the areas of exchange of military expertise and use of the latest military technologies to develop the defensive and offensive capabilities of the armed forces," he said.

The UAE has taken part in a number of security alliances with the US, particularly fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Yemen, and as a member of the international coalition battling the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

The operations conducted by UAE forces in partnership with their US counterparts "serve as a leading example of the level of readiness of all military units and their ability to respond to all types of security and terrorist threats", al-Mutawa said.

"The best evidence of this is the success of their field operations, including the liberation of Aden and their security contributions in Kosovo, Lebanon and Afghanistan in the 1990s," he added.

These successes prove that joint exercises are beneficial and have a positive impact on the UAE armed forces, the "Lions of the Peninsula", he said.

A series of exercises

"The security and military co-operation with the US has been going well for a long time, and there is mutual trust between the two sides based on mutual interests, credibility and partnership," said UAE political writer and editor Dirar Belhoul al-Falasi, director general of Watani Al Emarat Foundation.

"The new military exercise is the sixth in this series, confirming the continuity of co-operation between the two friendly countries to first, achieve our strategic interests, and second, strengthen our mutual relations," he said.

"Exercise is always useful, especially when you train with an army with the professionalism of the US army," he said.

"This exercise strengthens our armed forces’ defensive capabilities, especially in regard to the rapid response to emergencies and response in the shortest amount of time possible to crises of any kind," he added.

Al-Falasi said that with this exercise, the UAE demonstrates to all concerned that its armed forces are fully ready to meet all challenges and potential threats.

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