Saudi Arabia’s announcement to carry out the North Thunder military drills for a week in the King Khalid Military City of the country’s northeastern frontier has led to major concerns for Iran. In response Iran has resorted to various measures, including deploying Iraqi Shiite militias to the Saudi border. The military drills area is located in north Saudi Arabia, neighboring the Iraqi provinces of Basra and Ziqar.
The North Thunder military drills are scheduled to begin on February 26th, in which 20 different countries will be taking part, bringing on board a number of the strongest armies in the world. 10 of these armies will be from the Arab World. These military drills have been described as the largest such maneuvers in Middle East history. The countries scheduled to take part in these military drills are dispatching their forces geared with full equipment to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is placing all its efforts to welcome the forces of these 20 Arab and Islamic countries on its soil, providing all the infrastructures, airports, seaports and roadways.
The names of the countries taking part are: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Sudan, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Kumar, Djibouti, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania, Maoris, and the Island Shield Forces.
Size & Magnitude: Artillery, main battle tanks, infantry, anti-air systems, air force, navy and missile defense systems will have major roles in these drills. Furthermore special ammunition, equipment and weapons of all kinds and advanced models, including various types of warplanes will be used. 350,000 forces, more than 2,500 warplanes, 20,000 tanks and 450 helicopters will be taking part in these military drills.
Analysts believe these drills are actually aimed at drawing lines in the sand and saber-rattling against the Iranian regime in the region, and a response to the alliance between Iran, Russia and the Assad regime in the ongoing war in Syria.
Iran, under pressure from Saudi Arabia in Yemen and Syria, and the North Thunder military drills placing even more burden on Tehran, is carrying out measures attempting to place its own shadows over these drills. Revolutionary Guards Quds Force is seeking to decrease the pressure Riyadh is imposing on Yemen and Syria. To this end the Quds Force has decided to deploy 4,000 Iraqi Shiite militants to the Iraq-Saudi border. It is worth noting that these forces were sent to the Saudi border when Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was in Germany for the annual Munich Security Conference.
Other measures implemented by Iran aimed at disrupting the entire North Thunder military drills included ordering Houthi militants in Yemen to launch rockets and missiles against Saudi cities and airports. Ansarallah spokesman Mohammad Abdul-Salam revealed in unofficial remarks how they have not received any missiles or rockets from Iran during the past two months, and they currently only have 31 “Qaher 1” missiles at their disposal.
All of Tehran’s equations have been disrupted with Saudi Arabia taking a more active role in the Middle East against Iran’s support for terrorism. The alliance between Saudi Arabia and Arab-Islamic countries has already delivered a major blow to the Iranian regime.