Bahrain International Defense Exhibition and Conference (Bidec)

The rapid challenges and threats witnessed in the region require the development of a new regional system to maintain peace and security, said His Highness Brigadier Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa yesterday. Addressing the Middle East Military Alliances and Coalitions (MEMAC) Conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday, HH Shaikh Nasser who is also the Commander of Bahrain Royal Guard and Chairman of Bahrain International Defence Exhibition and Conference (BIDEC), said that the formation of military coalitions and organising such conferences and events serve this purpose.

“BIDEC and MEMAC conference come to stress on the importance of coalitions, military cooperation and alliances to fight terrorism. The region is affected by terrorism, sectarianism and regional and foreign interference in internal affairs,” Brig. HH Shaikh Nasser said. Explaining further, the Bahrain Royal Guard Commander flayed the policies of Iran and Qatar in the region, affirming that such hostile policies will not be tolerated in any form. “There won’t be any leniency or courtesy against threats to security and development of our people”, adding that “no parties will be allowed to threaten our countries,” HH Shaikh Nasser averred. Brig. Shaikh Nasser welcomed the new strategy recently made by the US President Donald Trump against Iran.

HH Shaikh Nasser also reiterated on the regional and international stances of the Kingdom in the war against terror, stating, “Bahrain promotes and supports the coalitions and alliances to fight terrorism in the Arab and Islamic world, and to combat the financing of terror activities. Military coalitions play a crucial role in protecting regional peace and stability, and to prevent some countries and organisations that are working to spread terror in the region.”

Bahrain Center for Strategic and International Studies and Energy (DERASAT) and Middle East Military Alliances and Coalitions (MEMAC) Chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa who addressed the session made a clear reference to the Qatari and Iranian supportive roles to terrorism in the region.

“The region has been targeted by many threats, such as Iran’s nuclear weapons development, supporting terrorist groups, meddling in others affairs and disturbing the peace. Qatar chose to be within the same strategies and plans of Iran. Hence, the role of the military coalitions and alliances in the region is crucial,” he said.

Shaikh Abdulla added that the conference is a bridge of dialogue between the countries of the world in their fight against terrorism, radical groups and extremist ideologies, emphasising that the resources used in battles should be utilised in strengthening peace and development.

Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) Military Commander General Raheel Sharif has said that the world is evolving at a faster pace considering the strategic changes that are globally taking place. “Coalitions and alliances are being made across the world to face individual and collective threats,” Gen. Sharif said. He underlined the strategies and operation of terrorist organisations, mentioning the methods they follow to attack and release pressure off each other despite their differences, ideologies and thoughts.

He also mentioned that the war isn’t limited to terrorists, as there are supporters, facilitators, financiers and sympathisers. Gen. Sharif said that terrorists are concentrated in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, in reference to organisations such as Al Qaeda, ISIS and Buko Haram. He revealed that mercenaries and soldiers of Al Qaeda are paid USD400 while ISIS fighters are paid USD700, insisting that these groups are following organised methods of operation.

The Pakistani General shed light on the harm terrorism caused to his country in the past few years, stating that “since the beginning of the war on terror, 25, 000 Pakistanis were killed in terrorist attacks including civilians and military personnel, with over 48, 000 wounded. He also said that “in 2013, over 100 attacks were recorded in Pakistan on a daily basis, mostly targeting civilian gatherings in schools and mosques”. Gen. Sharif added that the work of the coalition is based on four mechanisms that include countering terrorist ideologies, enhancing communication and spreading awareness, countering the financing of terrorism and drying its sources, and strengthening cooperation and intelligence sharing between member states.

Bahrain Defence Force Commander-in-Chief Field Marshall Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was the chief guest at the opening session of MEMAC being held here. Twenty-one delegates who hold leading military roles in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, the UAE, the USA, the UK, Cyprus and Greece will address the gathering. The second session will be held today at Bahrain International Exhibitions and Conferences Centre and will feature 18 speakers who include international defence experts, strategists and academics. The defence expo and conference is organised by Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) and the Middle East Military Alliances and Coalitions (MEMAC) in cooperation with the Bahrain Center for Strategic and International Studies and Energy (DERASAT).

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