The politics of military manoeuvres in the Middle East

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Countries are increasingly wielding military exercises as a foreign policy tool, but they fall short of aspirations and threaten regional stability.

In September, Saudi Arabia and the UAE held joint military exercises with Egypt and Greece. The presence of Israel and risk for regional instability pushed Iran to conduct military drills on the borders of Azerbaijan in early October. The exercises did not stop here. Months after naval drills in January 2021, Egypt and Russia started conducting a military exercise this week.

The aim of a military exercise is to illustrate a “show of strength” against a third country, sometimes by national armies and in other cases with the participation of the regional allies. They exhibit the technical and tactical…

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