As tensions in the middle east continue to escalate between Syriaand its neighbors, the Saudi Arabian government seems to be preparing for a full-scale invasion just on the border. According to recent reports, 350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are assembling on the border of northern Saudi Arabia in a wargame operation called “Northern Thunder”.
The operation is being conducted by Saudi Arabia but they will also be joined by military forces of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia and several other countries. During the operation, which will run just over two weeks, there will be an effective no-fly zone over Saudi Arabia, where the entire country will be closed to any unauthorized air traffic.
However, some critics are suggesting that this alleged “training” operation is just a cover for a full-scale invasion of Syria.
Meanwhile, Turkey to the north of Syria is being increasingly hostile and are literally giving air support to ISIS against the Kurds.
“At every coalition meeting we have always emphasized the need for an extensive result-oriented strategy in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group. If we have such a strategy, then Turkey and Saudi Arabia may launch an operation from the land,” Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey have claimed that their efforts in Syria are against ISIS, but the evidence suggests that they are more concerned with regime change than anything. In fact, it has been shown that both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are some of the biggest supporters that ISIS has.
“There will be no Bashar al-Assad in the future,” Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister said.
A recent study published by the Brookings Institution reviewed Twitter data from all over the world to track down the locations that had the most support for the terrorist group ISIS. Using a test sample of 20,000 accounts from each country, the study found that Saudi Arabia actually had the most pro-ISIS accounts, and by a fairly steep margin as well. Syria followed in 2nd with a significantly less number than Saudi Arabia, then followed by Iraq. Surprisingly, the United States is actually in fourth place, with a larger support base than most people would expect.