When a nation deploys its military for a massive training exercise, oftentimes it has little to do with actual training. These maneuvers can also be conducted to flex military might, gauge the response of rival nations, or to simply provide a show of force for domestic propaganda purposes. Sometimes a training exercise can even be used as a cover to launch an invasion.
Whatever the case may be, Saudi Arabia’s latest training exercise is clearly going to escalate tensions in the Middle East. On Sunday, they announced an 18 day training exercise, that will be conducted alongside the forces of 20 different allies.
The drill, dubbed North Thunder, involves Arab and Muslim countries, according to the Saudi Press Agency. It’s taking place in King Khalid Military City in northeastern Saudi Arabia.
The news agency did not provide much information on what the exercise entails but called it “the largest in the region’s history.” The agency said it will involve air, sea and land forces.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, other participating nations include Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Kuwait, the Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania and Mauritius.
“North Thunder drills represent a clear message that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brothers and friends of the participating countries stand united to confront all challenges and maintain peace and stability in the region,” the agency said.
By some accounts, 350,000 soldiers will contribute to Northern thunder, as well as tens of thousands of tanks, planes, and helicopters. Curiously, the US and her allies were not invited to this operation.
The move has left many observers concerned, considering that Saudi Arabia has recently proposed a ground invasion of Syria, ostensibly to fight ISIS. In reality, such an invasion would be more concerned with helping the rebels topple Assad. In a recent interview with CNN, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister made it clear that Riyadh has no intention of letting Assad remain in power after the war is over. “Bashar al-Assad will leave – have no doubt about it. He will either leave by a political process or he will be removed by force.”
However, the Russians have made it clear that if Saudi Arabia tries to put any military presence in Syria, for any reason, they will consider it an act of war. Last week, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev went so far as to say that an invasion would lead to a “permanent war,” or worse, a new world war.
In other words, the Russians have no intention of backing down. And as insane as it might sound, it appears the Saudi’s don’t either. The fact that they’re even entertaining this notion, suggests that the Saudi regime has completely lost its marbles. They’re already fighting a proxy war in Yemen, which they are losing badly. What in the world makes them think they can take on the Russians in Syria?
It’s hard to decipher the true intent behind this training exercise, but whatever it is, it can’t be good. Are they just trying to flex their muscles for the Russians and the Iranians? Are they using this exercise as a cover for the invasion of Syria that they’ve been calling for in recent weeks? Do they actually believe either of those moves would be successful? Or are they trying to spark a conflict that will drag the US into a war, thus letting their ally do all the dirty work for them?
Whatever the case may be, these maneuvers, coupled with their provocative statements, are the height of stupidity and insanity. Hopefully they will come to their senses soon, because not only do they risk a cataclysmic defeat in Syria, they’re setting the stage for a global war. And as any sane person would know, nobody would really win such a war, including the Saudis.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .