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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Qatar soldiers arrive in Saudi Arabia for massive military exercise

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A battalion with armored vehicles from the Qatar Armed Forces has arrived in Saudi Arabia to participate in a 20-nation military exercise, billed as the largest to ever take place in the region.

Photos and videos posted on Twitter show soldiers arriving from Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Sudan and other countries to participate in “Operation Northern Thunder.”

The exercise is a massive show of force as tensions in the region escalate, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

https://twitter.com/diraalwatan/status/699863445412278273

Relations between the two nations worsened in January when protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Qatar was one of several countries to recall its ambassador from the Iranian capital in protest.

Meanwhile, some have argued that Saudi Arabia wants to project its power by demonstrating that it’s capable of organizing large-scale military maneuvers in the country’s north while simultaneously fighting a war in Yemen on its southern borders.

The exercise comes two months after Saudi Arabia established an “Islamic and military” anti-terrorism coalition – of which Qatar is a member – amid international calls for countries in the Middle East and North Africa to do more to fight militant groups such as ISIL.

More recently, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have said they are willing to send ground forces into Syria, with Qatar officials indicating they could follow suit.

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