''North Thunder Drill''… Alliances Varying
24 March 2016
By Salman Aldosary
It was a grandiose spectacle which upcoming generations will long remember;
tens of thousands of soldiers and army units of 20 different nations coming in
together for the first collaborative work of its kind. The occurrence took
place on a 900 Km squared vast zone in northern Saudi Arabia nearing Iraqi
borders. Before any other military signaling, the North Thunder military
drills did not only stand to be an unprecedented military exercise, but also
to send out a political message. Some understood that, others listened to it,
and several others etched it into their minds.
It is the first robust memo practically sent out by regional countries, and it
clearly affirms that they are capable of stopping any attempt trying to toy
around with their security and stability, and a first in which no world-power
nations are needed to employ the' umbrella organization' tactic.
The North Thunder drill has established a new balancing equation for the
region. The figures computing that equation first began adding up at the
launch of the Decisive Storm operation, then enhanced at Hafar Al-Batin, and
finally fortified themselves with the North Thunder military drill.
I believe that four underlying statements are denoted by the North Thunder
drill. The first message is directed to all those plotting to spark out chaos
and to pounce down nations; to all groups and militias that have established
themselves a state within a state.
Each of Hezbollah, ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Popular Mobilization Forces and all
other extremist terrorist organizations are addressed when the fact of the
Islamic Military Alliance not permitting the continuance of the terrorist
chaos and the sapping of its nations' security and stability is being
The second point is made to all great nations and regional historical allies,
and it is that regional alliances have become of equivalent value to
traditional alliances. The current state is not restricted to having regional
coalitions alone functioning, not that they have weakened or are being meant
to be disposed of, it is only because certain subjects require for the
countries themselves to personally attend them.
However, it is not a cut-edge ''take matters to our own hands'' action, but more
of a ''resolve our own personal matters'', instead of waiting for a country like
the U.S. to decide on whether we should fight terrorism or not, in its own
terms, strategies and visions. It is a balance struck between preserving the
great power traditional alliances, not completely abandoning them, and not
solely depending on them.
As for the third message, it
addressed our Gulf's eastern bank neighboring republic, Iran. It defined that
the attack is not targeted against it- the Iranian system is incapable of
withstanding any direct confrontation- and attested to the drill's strategy
not being based on inducing a military confrontation.
The North Thunder's strategy lies among the lines of fighting Iranian proxies
and militias spread in the region. Thus the message depicts that all Iranian
proxies and militias infiltrating countries will be sized down and cut off,
not in a terror-inspired approach, which Iran is quite experienced with,
rather in a tactic aligned with international law and by means of politics and
Last but not least, the fourth message is a signal out to all the
coalition-supporting nations that their countries are fully prepared and have
the common military creed to confront all challenges and threats, telling them
not to undermine their capabilities.
The League of Arab States (LAS) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
have long been held responsible for the failure of facing regional challenges
afflicted on nations. It could be said that all grand-scale political and
economic projects instigated by the two above organizations have never
However, for the mission on forming a somewhat unified military force, it has
flourished after the latest session resolved to approve it.
It is noteworthy to recognize that what the LAS and OIC have previously failed
to accomplish over the past decades, has been realized by the Custodian of the
Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz within a year. The reasons behind
that success are not because of Saudi Arabia's political, military, or even
economic strength; it rather is because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alone is
capable of establishing such alliances, reinforcing and strengthening them,
that is all there is to it. All Kingdom allies recognize that fact fully.
Saudi Arabia is not aiming to play a role; it wants to meet the expectations
posed on its part.
Salman Aldosary is the
editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.