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British Forces to Deploy More Often in Gulf, General Says

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- British joint-forces units will spend longer periods of time deployed in the Gulf, said General Sir David Richards, chief of the U.K. defense staff.

“We would expect, with other initiatives, for Joint Expeditionary Force elements to spend more time reassuring and deterring” to assist Britain’s friends in the Middle East and Gulf, the general said in a speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London yesterday, which was posted on the organization’s website.

The U.K. has some units already based in the Gulf, including naval vessels and a command unit in Bahrain, as well as aircraft in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The British army will create two or more brigades to form close relationships with the Gulf states and Jordan to ensure better military cooperation, the general said. “Should the need arise for another Libya-style operation, we will be prepared.”

The general also referred to “traditional but potentially enhanced roles” for U.K. forces in Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as he set out the role of British forces after the end of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francis Harris in London at fharris4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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