Planned ‘North Thunder’ a clear message to Tehran

Updated 10 February 2016

Planned ‘North Thunder’ a clear message to Tehran

JEDDAH: The planned “North Thunder” military exercise is a clear message to Iran and the countries in the region it supports that any hostile intentions and actions will be firmly dealt with, an expert has said.
The military drill is scheduled to be held in the northern region of Saudi Arabia in the next few days and a number of countries will be participating in it, local media reported on Tuesday.
Military experts have warned that the next probable threat to the Gulf states is likely to come from the northern areas, after Iran demographically occupies Iraq and uses that country as its military arm to meddle in the affairs of neighboring countries and drain Gulf states’ resources.
Col. Ibrahim Al-Marie, military and strategic analyst, said the three main goals of the exercise are to protect the joint security of the Gulf, Arab and Islamic states, increase combat readiness and coordinate joint operations between participating forces.
“Participating countries are Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, the UAE, and some Gulf states, through maritime, air and land efforts,” he said. “This maneuver is considered the most important in the past five decades conducted by Gulf, Arab and Islamic countries. It will rely on the latest technology in light of the growing regional terrorism and turbulent environment, and after the success of Decisive Storm.”
Al-Marie said the exercise provides a chance to improve and activate the Islamic military alliance announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister, for joint participation of Gulf, Arab and Islamic countries in a number of these exercises.
He denied any link between North Thunder and the recent announcement by the Kingdom regarding ground military intervention in Syria, noting that these exercises were announced previously and are part of a defensive, not offensive, approach.
Al-Marie revealed that Iran seeks control in Iraq for extremist Shiites who are loyal to Tehran, and not Baghdad. “We know that Iran has been trying to widen its footprint in Iraq through a so-called demographic occupation and emptying Iraq of Sunnis, either by displacing them or wiping them out, as well as by emptying the country of moderate Shiites loyal to Iraq,” he said.









“This demographic occupation is currently happening in Iraq and Syria through the use of the Fatamid brigades, who are Shiites from Afghanistan and who have been promised Syrian, Iranian or Iraqi nationality if they achieve victory for Iran in Syria,” he added.


US Consulate General in Dhahran celebrates 244 years of independence, 75 years of US-Saudi partnership

Updated 20 February 2020

US Consulate General in Dhahran celebrates 244 years of independence, 75 years of US-Saudi partnership

  • Consul General Rachna Korhonen: I want to say thank you to the amazing people of Sharqiya who remind me every day how warm, wonderful, welcoming, hospitable, and kind Saudis are
  • Although US Independence Day is July 4, the consulate traditionally celebrates the occasion in the spring due to the pleasant weather this time of the year

DHAHRAN: The US Consulate General in Dhahran hosted its 2020 National Day reception on Feb. 19 to celebrate 244 years of American Independence, and the 75th anniversary of the historic meeting between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy.

Consul General Rachna Korhonen and her husband Juha Korhonen welcomed the deputy governor of the Eastern Province, Khalid Al-Battal, and deputy governor of Alkhobar, Abdullah bin Ali Al-Seef, as the guests of honor.

Although US Independence Day is July 4, the consulate traditionally celebrates the occasion in the spring due to the pleasant weather this time of the year.

“Seventy-five years ago, two great leaders met aboard the USS Quincy. President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz met to chart the future of our bilateral ties. This first encounter between a US president and a Saudi King laid the foundation for the broad strategic partnership the US and Saudi Arabia share today. Beyond partnership, President Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz forged a personal friendship that is at the heart of the strong ties our two countries share today,” said Korhonen.

She added: “As the first woman to be consul general here, it has been an exciting journey for me. I arrived to Dhahran in August 2017, to a country undergoing remarkable changes.  Vision 2030 has opened new possibilities, tourism opportunities are growing, women are driving and attending sporting events. I have said this many times and it is still true: I have the best job in the best place at the best time.

“Most of all, I want to say thank you to the amazing people of Sharqiya (Eastern Province) who remind me every day how warm, wonderful, welcoming, hospitable, and kind Saudis are. I have made friendships that I know are going to last me a lifetime. When I leave here this summer, I will certainly leave a piece of my heart here but I also plan to take a little piece of your heart with me.”