Saudis Stalling for Time for ISIS In Mosul?

Abadi: Hashd al-Shaabi participates in Mosul liberation20 February 2016

“Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday that the Hashd al-Shaabi militias will participate in the Mosul liberation operation.”

Saudis walk out of Arab League meeting after Iraqi minister´s comments

“The Saudi delegation withdrew from the meeting hall after the speech of Foreign Minister Al-Jaafari who rejected speaking against Hashd Shaabi and other resistance groups,” the source said, declining to be named.

“In his speech he said that Hashd Shaabi and Hezbollah have preserved the dignity of the Arabs and those who call them terrorists are the terrorists,” he said.

[It is obvious that Saudi staged its recent “Northern Thunder” (‘Ra’ad Al-Shamal’) war games to intimidate both Syria and Iran, but is that the scenario which was rehearsed (Why Saudis may take on Iraq’s Shiite militias)?]

Saudis Pay Pakistan $122 Million For “Northern Thunder” Air Show

Hezbollah warns Saudi Arabia with war in case of invasion in Iraq

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Saudi Arabia, together with Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and several other Arab and Islamic countries, performed the biggest military exercise in the Middle Eastern history on the Saudi-Iraqi border


The biggest Sunni military training in the Middle East called “Northern Thunder” caused the reaction of the Iraqi Shia militia group, Hezbollah.

Israeli daily, Jerusalem Post, reported that a military spokesman for Hezbollah in Iraq said that the Shia fighters will “slaughter” the Saudi forces if they try to invade Iraq.

According to the Israeli daily, ground and air forces from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and several other Arab and Islamic countries launched the biggest military training exercise in the Middle East, on the Saudi-Iraqi border. The exercise is expected to last 18 days and involves about 150 thousand soldiers.

On Thursday, military forces of the Saudi-led coalition approached the Iraqi border and Hezbollah brigades instantly started mobilizing their forces to the border.

Besides Hezbollah, Ahmed Assadi, the spokesman for Iraq’s formation of Shiite militia groups, named Popular Mobilization Units said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia should be careful when conducting drills near the Iraqi border, as it will become a “graveyard” for those who wish to violate Iraq’s sovereignty.

“We want to clearly tell them…on behalf of all the resistance fighters in Iraq, all the soldiers, that the country’s border will be a graveyard for anyone who tries to approach it or touches the Iraqi land,” Assadi said according to the Iraqi television channel Alsumaria.

The “Northern Thunder” also worries many Iraqi politicians as it takes place too close to the Iraqi borders. The exercise is expected to last 18 days and involves about 150 thousand soldiers.

According to the Russian website, Sputnik, the member of the parliamentary security and defense committee Adnan al-Asadi told the Iraqi news agency INA that Iraq has deployed “large” military forces at the border with Saudi Arabia to oversee the ongoing military training. Asadi warned that any possible violation of Iraq’s airspace will be regarded as a violation of the stated sovereignty.

According to Sputnik another Iraqi politician Iskander Vitvit, also accused Saudi Arabia, the US and Turkey of trying to divide Iraq. “These maneuvers (meaning the military exercise) are a part of the plan on Iraq’s division, supported by Saudi Arabia and the United States, in coordination with Turkey. But they are well aware that Iraq is no longer the same as before and that it is ready to fight back,” he said.

 

Saudi Arabia’s “Northern Thunder,” Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing

Saudi Arabia’s “Northern Thunder,” Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing

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The news has been abuzz before and during the ceasefire announced amid Syria’s conflict about Saudi Arabia’s possible intervention. Saudi Arabia has threatened to intervene amid incomprehensible, contradicting rhetoric, claiming that it would enter Syrian territory to “fight” IS (the Islamic State), but would do so only now because the Syrian government has refused to step down.

Of course, the only coherent forces on the ground fighting IS now are the Syrian government’s troops and Kurdish fighters who now appear to be working with Damascus. Saudi Arabia’s intervention to remove President Bashar al Assad from power would seem to work in IS’ favor, not against it. To give Saudi Arabia’s confusing threats some teeth, Riyadh announced its “Northern Thunder” military exercises which it claimed would be one of the largest military exercises ever held. The United Arab Emirates’ “The National,” would report in an article titled, “Saudi Arabia hosts joint military exercise,” that:

Armed forces from 20 countries have begun manoeuvres in northeastern Saudi Arabia, described by the official Saudi Press Agency as one of the world’s biggest military exercises. 

Troops from the other five Gulf Arab states – the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar – as well as Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Sudan are among those participating in the Ra’ad Al Shamal, or Northern Thunder, exercise, Spa agency reported. 

The military drill – which began on Saturday and involves ground, air and naval forces – will be “one of the world’s most important military exercises based on the number of forces participating and the area of territory used”, the agency said.

While that sounds impressive, with Saudi news outlets claiming some 350,000 troops were expected to participate, not a single photo or video has surfaced so far showing this impressive force in action. The entire point of mounting such monumental military exercises is to show off one’s military power to the world, not merely write about it in news articles. And more specifically, in Saudi Arabia’s case, such exercises are meant to show those nations it is trying to coerce by threat of military force just what it faces if concessions are not made.

The National Interest in an article titled, “Saudi Arabia Goes to War,” points out some obvious shortcomings of Saudi Arabia’s military that, even at face value, undermine Riyadh’s threats before they left the mouths of its diplomatic corps. In the article it states:

Tanks, combat aircraft and missiles are only as powerful as the people operating, maintaining and supporting them. And in this domain, Saudi Arabia has a very long way to go.

Not much is known about the proficiency of Saudi Arabia’s military as a fighting force. The only real war the Saudis have taken part in was Operation Desert Storm in 1991; and most of the fighting there was done by the US. More recently Saudi Arabia has been fighting in Yemen, but unsuccessfully so far. Foreign advisers speak about the difficulties in bringing Saudi Arabian soldiers to the desired combat readiness and proficiency.

The article also mentions another key shortcoming, Saudi Arabia’s overdependence on foreign soldiers filling its ranks and the high number of contractors it relies on, as illustrated in its ongoing war with neighboring Yemen.

Multiplying Complications

There are several complications that immediately undermine Saudi Arabia’s threats. It’s one thing to have an army, but it’s another thing to actually get it into another theater of war that isn’t bordering your own nation. Moving troops into Syria will require the cooperation and complicity as well as additional logistical expertise of other nations to move troops from Saudi Arabia either through Jordan and into Syria, or in large numbers to Turkey by sea and then onward to Syria.

And, it is one thing to have such capabilities to move enough troops for any sort of meaningful incursion into Syria, and quite another thing to be able to keep them armed, fueled and otherwise supplied, especially during sustained combat operations.

However, this last point could be addressed by Saudi troops simply latching on to the supply lines already in place for Al Qaeda and IS, lines likely already very familiar to planners in Riyadh, since they have helped underwrite them to begin with. Still, the unique requirements for a modern, mechanized army would need these lines expanded and augmented, something Saudi Arabia has little experience doing.

And experience is perhaps a third failing Saudi Arabia brings with it when it tries to threaten other nations of invasion. Entering into the Syrian conflict and doing anything more than seizing a buffer zone at the edge of Syria’s territory would be the first “rodeo” of its kind for Riyadh. And if such a move was considered a “rodeo,” its move into Yemen next door could be considered a “junior rodeo,” and one Riyadh has yet to finish.

Saudi Arabia’s Threat of Invasion is Cover For Something Else…

If Saudi Arabia cannot even win on the battlefield in neighboring Yemen, with fighting even spilling over the border into Saudi territory, it is unlikely it will do any better against the battle-hardened, better organized and better equipped forces of the Syrian Arab Army, let alone Russia’s presence in the country. Clearly Saudi Arabia’s phantom military exercises and posturing are cover for something else. It is likely that anything that goes over the border into Syria under the Saudi flag will be anything other than actual Saudi forces. Remember those Al Qaeda and IS supply lines mentioned earlier? What if the fighters and equipment pouring into Syria simply changed their black flags to Saudi Arabia’s?

And though Saudi Arabia’s demands for “democracy” in Syria despite the fact that Saudi Arabia itself is an absolute monarchy devoid entirely of elections, staged or otherwise, are particularly discredited, an undeserving air of legitimacy still surrounds the regime in Riyadh, perhaps enough to make it difficult for Syrian or Russian forces to attack terrorists flagged as Saudis. Consider also that while moving thousands of additional troops into the theater may be difficult, moving Saudi warplanes is not. Many are already reportedly in Turkey, standing by for operations. Saudi-flagged terrorists backed by Saudi airpower would be a particularly potent mix that could keep supply lines to terrorists fighting in Syria’s interior open long enough to break Syrian-Russian operational momentum and create a stalemate only tough concessions made by Moscow and Damascus could break.

With this possibility, it would benefit Syria and its allies to begin considering a true no-fly-zone over the country, excluding from Syrian airspace all nations (especially the Saudis and Turks) not given authorization by Damascus. The matter could be brought before the UN under the plausible pretext that Syrian troops are closing in on IS positions in Al Raqqa and the chance of mishaps are growing by the day. This is not even a ploy, because in fact, Syrian forces are closing in on Al Raqqa. Now would be as good a time as any to begin closing off Syrian airspace and helping the US and its allies back down from increasingly desperate options, saving them from themselves and their demonstrably bad judgement.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Saudis Pay Pakistan $122 Million For “Northern Thunder” Air Show

Saudis Claim “Huge” 20 Nation War Games In Northern Saudi

Saudi extends 122 million dollar economic aid to Pak

deccan chronicle

ANI

Pakistan is a member of the military alliance of Muslim countries that Saudi Arabia formed late last year to fight terrorism.

 

The signing ceremony for the grant, which includes a 67 million dollars package, took place the day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif were attending the closing ceremony of the multi-nation 'Thunder of the North' military exercise in Saudi Arabia,reports Dawn. (Photo: AP)

 The signing ceremony for the grant, which includes a 67 million dollars package, took place the day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif were attending the closing ceremony of the multi-nation ‘Thunder of the North’ military exercise in Saudi Arabia,reports Dawn. (Photo: AP)

Islamabad: Saudi Arabia has extended a financial and economic assistance of 122 million dollars to Pakistan which is the highest amount Riyadh has officially given to Islamabad in the last five years.

The signing ceremony for the grant, which includes a 67 million dollars package, took place the day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif were attending the closing ceremony of the multi-nation ‘Thunder of the North’ military exercise in Saudi Arabia,reports Dawn.

Pakistan is a member of the military alliance of Muslim countries that Saudi Arabia formed late last year to fight terrorism.

The new assistance, though insignificant, can indicate improved economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, experts said.

Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Secretary Tariq Bajwa and Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD )Yousaf Ibrahim al Bassam signed five grant agreements valuing $67 million and a loan agreement of $55 million, according to EAD. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony.

However, the commitments were more than $348 million and the rest of the amount could not be disbursed due to multiple reasons.

Saudis Claim “Huge” 20 Nation War Games In Northern Saudi

[Except for the word of the lying royal bastards and their lapdog press services, we have no proof that these massive war games even took place.  Neither Pakistan, nor any other participant state has airfift capabilities capable of relocating massive amounts of armor, troops or aircraft to the Saudi desert.  Certainly, only a couple of the participating states could afford such a massive, logistical investment in currying favor with the Wahhabi kingdom.]

20 nations, including Pakistan join major military manoeuvre in Saudi

express tribune

By AFP
A file photo of Saudi military exercise. PHOTO COURTESY: WORLD TRIBUNE

A file photo of Saudi military exercise. PHOTO COURTESY: WORLD TRIBUNE

RIYADH: Armed forces from around 20 countries were gathering in northern Saudi Arabia Sunday for “the most important” military manoeuvre ever staged in the region, the official news agency SPA reported.

The “Thunder of the North” exercise involving ground, air, and naval forces sends a “clear message” that Riyadh and its allies “stand united in confronting all challenges and preserving peace and stability in the region”, SPA said.

Saudi Arabia is currently leading a military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in its southern neighbour Yemen. Last December, it also formed a new 35-member coalition to fight “terrorism” in Islamic countries.

Saudi deploys jets in Turkey for anti-Islamic State fight

Sunday’s announcement also comes as the kingdom, a member of the US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State group, said it has deployed warplanes to a Turkish air base in order to “intensify” its operations against IS in Syria.

SPA did not specify when the military exercise will begin or how long it will last.

However, the agency called it the “most important and largest in the region’s history” in terms of the number of nations taking part and the weaponry being used.

Twenty countries will be taking take part, SPA said.

Among them are Saudi Arabia’s five partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal and Tunisia, it added.

A Saudi source said on Thursday that members of the new “anti-terrorism” coalition will gather in Saudi Arabia next month for its first publicly announced meeting.

Riyadh has said the alliance would share intelligence, combat violent ideology and deploy troops if necessary.