Rabat - Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane arrived the afternoon of Mar. 9 in Saudi Arabia to represent Morocco at the closing ceremony for “Thunder of the North,” a major military maneuver lead by Saudi Arabia.
Rabat – Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane arrived the afternoon of Mar. 9 in Saudi Arabia to represent Morocco at the closing ceremony for “Thunder of the North,” a major military maneuver lead by Saudi Arabia.
According to Saudi Press Agency, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) units are taking part, along with military forces from the other five Gulf Arab states, in “one of the world’s most important military exercises based on the number of forces participating and the area of territory used.”
The Saudi agency said that the major goal of the exercise was to improve training in response to the threat posed by “terrorist groups.”
The operation “Thunder of the North,” launched at the initiative of Riyadh is designed to prepare a coalition of military forces from 21 Arab and Muslim countries for a possible ground invasion in Syria to combat the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or Daech) and other terrorist groups.
Brigadier General Ahmed Hassan Asiri, adviser to the defense minister’s office in Saudi Arabia and the
spokesperson for the Saudi-led Arab Coalition backing the Yemeni government against Houthi rebels, said that 21 countries—including Morocco—would be participating in the drill.
“There will be 21 Arab and Muslim countries taking part in large drills,” Asiri told London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
“[The operation] will serve to boost fighting capabilities, exchange information, benefit from experiences and expertise and enhance coordination between the participating countries. There will be joint military command centers,” he said.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in its southern neighbor Yemen. Saudi Arabia also formed the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism, a 35-member coalition to combat terrorist organizations, in December 2015.
Edited by Kelsey Fish