By Staff writer
HMS Juffair marks the UK’s first permanent base in the region since 1971
The UK will open up a new $36.5m (£30m) Royal Navy facility in Bahrain in November to help fight extremists in the region and protect ships bringing oil and gas through the Strait of Hormuz.
HMS Juffair, which marks the UK’s first permanent military base in the Middle East since 1971, will be used by Special Forces and Navy destroyers, frigates and minehunters to launch operations against ISIL. It will be house up to 600 military personnel, reported Daily Mail.
The base is also part of a contingency operation in case neighbouring countries attempt to block UK commercial ships carrying oil and gas from Gulf countries through the strait. The waterway is of strategical importance and connects the Arabian Gulf to the rest of the world. In 2012, Iran threated to block the strait in retaliation to international sanctions.
The opening of the base comes as the UK pushes to strengthen economic and military ties in the region.
“This new base is a permanent expansion of the Royal Navy’s footprint. It will enable Britain to send more and larger ships to reinforce stability in the Gulf,” Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said at the time.
“It will provide a permanent expansion of the Ministry of Defence’s presence in the Gulf and to support current, on-going and future operations,” an MoD spokesman added.
The base has largely been paid for by Bahrain with the UK having contributed $9.1m (£7.5m).