Armed forces from around 20 countries were gathering in northern Saudi Arabia Sunday for “the most important” military maneuver ever staged in the region, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
These countries include Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Sudan, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoros, Djibouti, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania, and Mauritius, according to SPA.
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.
The three-week massive maneuver aims at promoting military cooperation between the GCC, Arab and Islamic countries, developing competencies, raising combat readiness, and training the participating forces on using modern military mechanisms.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported that a Qatari Land Force, consisted of a mechanized infantry battalion, of the Armed Forces left Qatar Monday for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to participate in “Ra’ad Al-Shamal” maneuver which will be carried out at the King Khalid Military City in Hafr Al-Batin.
In a statement before leaving for Saudi Arabia, Qatari Force’s Commander Major Rashid Saleh Al Hajri emphasized the importance of the maneuver and the need of cooperation between the brotherly and friendly countries, adding that this exercise addresses any challenge facing the region.
Al Hajri said that the Qatari participation will be in different sectors in the field exercises, command centers exercises and tactical exercises.
Land and Air forces of the Qatari Armed Forces will participate in the drills, he added.
He also expressed his pleasure for participating in the maneuver along with brothers in Saudi Arabia and the Islamic alliance in addition to brothers in the Peninsula Shield forces, hoping that the exercise will be a good sign towards an ongoing cooperation with the brotherly and friendly countries to achieve peace and security in the region.