Armed forces leaders from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have arrived in Saudi Arabia to participate in “North Thunder”.
It is one of the largest military training operations ever in the region.
More than 350 thousand troops, over 2500 warplanes, 20 thousand tanks, and 460 helicopters are expected from over 20 nations.
TRUNEWS has reported some of the Arab and Islamic nations involved include Oman, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Tunisia.
The exercise is expected to last about three weeks to develop competency among the troops, raise combat readiness and train forces to use modern techniques.
Saudi officials have not directly said the exercise was a precursor to sending troops into Syria. But they have offered assistance to the U.S.-led coalition and expressed their desire to have the Syrian president removed from power.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends an interview with Reuters, in Riyadh January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
“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,” said Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubier in a CNN interview.
One political analyst in the Hafr Al-Batin province of Saudi Arabia has said Iran should also take notice in the exercise.
“The maneuver, which is a strong message for Iran, seeks to unify the military forces of Arab and Islamic countries. It is the first real maneuver after the Kingdom’s announcement of the formation of a 34-nation Islamic alliance against terrorism last December,” said Hamdan Al-Shehri.
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