Northern Thunder: Saudi Arabia as a military superpower


A file photo dated 01 November 2011 showing Saudi Arabia's Armed Forces presenting their skills during a military parade held few days before the Muslim's Hajj Pilgrimage 2011, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on 15 February 2016 reported Saudi Arabia has started the region's largest military exercise as part of a drill that involves troops from other Muslim and Arab countries. Among the 20 countries participating in the exercise are Pakistan, Egypt and Jordania. Saudi Arabia, a staunch critic of al-Assad, has confirmed sending fighter jets used by the US and allied powers to attack Islamic State militants to the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said 14 February 2016 in Riyadh that any decision by his country to deploy ground troops in Syria would be linked to the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State there.

Riyadh is looking to display willingness and capability to affect the status quo militarily

Saudi as a regional security leader

The Northern Thunder military exercise that began on Monday is a show of power designed to pass the message that Saudi Arabia is a regional security provider, leading a Sunni coalition against Daesch. This is the largest indigenous army the region has ever seen. How many troops will participate depends on whom you read: 150-350,000 troops could be engaged.

The gathering of one of the largest Muslim force in history is a significant message for Daesch, b...

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