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    Members of Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service stand on December 27, 2015 in the Hoz neighbourhood in central Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, about 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, during military operations conducted by Iraqi pro-government forces against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group

    Decisive Rebuff? Iraq Sends Military Forces to Border With Saudi Arabia

    © AFP 2017/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
    Middle East
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    Saudi Arabia started large-scale military exercises close to the Iraqi border. The military training known under name "Northern Thunder" involves ground and air forces from Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and several other Arab and Islamic countries.

    Iraq has deployed "large" military forces at the border with Saudi Arabia to oversee the ongoing military training conducted by the kingdom, member of the parliamentary security and defense committee Adnan al-Asadi told the Iraqi news agency INA.

    The large-scale military exercises started on Tuesday, with the participation of ground forces from Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and several other Arab states, the members of the Riyadh's antiterrorist coalition.

    The exercise is expected to last 18 days and involves about 150 thousand soldiers.

    "Large military forces have been sent to observe the maneuvers at the Iraqi-Saudi border in coordination with the security authorities," al-Asadi stated.

    The official noted that a possible violation of Iraq's airspace will be regarded as a violation of the stated sovereignty and perpetrators will be held responsible.

    According to another Iraqi politician Iskander Vitvit, Iraqi authorities should abandon diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and strengthen cooperation with Russia.

    "These maneuvers are a part of the plan on Iraq's division, supported by Saudi Arabia and the United States, in coordination with Turkey. But they are well aware that Iraq is no longer the same as before and that it is ready to fight back," the politician said.

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    military conflict, armed forces, Saudi Arabia, Iraq
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