Iraqi Volunteer Forces Warn to Strike Back at Saudi Arabia
The warning came after some Arab media reported that Saudi Arabia and its allies are planning to conduct a joint military maneuver near Iraq’s Western borders.
“We will turn Iraq into graveyard for Saudi forces if they dare to attack Iraq,” the Arabic-language media outlets quoted Iraqi Volunteer Forces Spokesman Ahmad al-Assadi as saying on Saturday.
“We warn Saudi Arabia and any other country that dreams of making an aggression against Iraq that if they get near the Iraqi soil, the volunteer forces will stand up to them,” the statement added.
On Friday, the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted Turkish diplomats as saying that at the risk of fueling sectarian tensions, Saudi Arabia and Turkey plan to conduct joint military exercises.
According to Turkish diplomats, Ankara is planning to carry out military exercises with Riyadh in the coming year.
The goal is for the two nations to “cooperate against common threats”, Sputnik reported.
“The planned exercises do not particularly aim at any specific threat,” said a senior diplomat, according to Defense News.
While the specific “threat” is not mentioned, some analysts are concerned that military coordination between the region’s largest Sunni countries will be viewed through the lens of a broader sectarian conflict.
“This is clearly a move that would provoke an Iranian response, in some way or another,” one analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Defense News.
Both nations are already supporting the Syrian opposition against the government of Bashar al-Assad, and both have also shown signs of sending troops into Syria.
Ankara has been increasing its troop presence along the Syrian border, leaving Russia concerned that an invasion could be imminent.
“We have good reasons to believe that Turkey is actively preparing for a military invasion of a sovereign state – the Syrian Arab Republic,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters. “We’re detecting more and more signs of Turkish armed forces being engaged in covert preparations for direct military actions in Syria.”
Riyadh is also showing increased signs of invading Syria. Last Thursday, the Saudi embassy in Washington DC tweeted that the Saudi Ministry of Defense stands ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to aid in anti-Daesh coalition efforts.
According to Saudi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, such a scenario would involve “thousands of special forces,” and would most likely be conducted “in coordination with Turkey.”
This possibility has been strongly criticized by analysts.
“If Ankara and Riyadh invade Syria, they’ll be supporting [Daesh] and other terrorist groups against Assad,” activist Stephen Lendman wrote for Global Research.
Writing for the Fiscal Times, journalist Patrick Smith also pointed out stressed that such action would be “rampant with complications.”
“So is the increasing military involvement of the Turks, who are Washington’s other regional ally in the coalition against….against who knows whom? It’s either [Daesh], as declared, or Damascus – as is cynically evident on the ground.”
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are also both part of an effort to create an alleged “Islam Army,” ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism in the region and consisting of 34 Sunni Islam nations.
Almost the entire range of extremist and terrorist groups are supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with their key commanders and leaders being Saudi nationals. ISIL, Al-Nusra and other extremist groups pursue the same line of ideology exercised and promoted by Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. Hundreds of Saudi clerics are among the ranks of ISIL and Al-Nusra to mentor the militants. Wahhabism is now the only source of the textbooks taught at schools in the self-declared capital of the ISIL terrorist group, Raqqa, in Northeastern Syria resembling the texts and lessons taught to schoolgoers in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi ideology, an extremist version of Sunni Islam that is promoted almost only in Saudi Arabia, sees all other faiths – from other interpretations of Sunni Islam to Shiism, Christianity and Judaism – as blasphemy, meaning that their followers should be decapitated as nonbelievers.
Early in February, the Saudi Defense Ministry said it stood ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to allegedly aid the US-led anti-ISIL, also known as Daesh, coalition.
Riyadh has been a member of the US-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes against Daesh in Syria since September 2014, without the permission of Damascus or the United Nations. In December 2015, Saudi Arabia started its own Muslim 34-nation coalition to allegedly fight Islamic extremism.
Daesh or ISIL/ISIS is a Wahhabi group mentored by Saudi Arabia and has been blacklisted as a terrorist group everywhere in the world, including the United States and Russia, but Saudi Arabia.
Syria, Tehran and Moscow have issued stern warnings to Riyadh, stressing that the Saudi intruders, who in fact intend to rescue the terrorists that are sustaining heavy defeats these days, will be crushed in Syria.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned that any ground operation in Syria without Damascus’ approval is an “act of aggression”, warning that the Saudi aggressors “would go back home in coffins”.
In Tehran, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the guts to send its armed forces to Syria.
“They claim they will send troops (to Syria) but I don’t think they will dare do so. They have a classic army and history tells us such armies stand no chance in fighting irregular resistance forces,” Jafari said.
“This will be like a coup de grâce for them. Apparently, they see no other way but this, and if this is the case, then their fate is sealed,” he added.
Jafari, said this is just cheap talks, but Iran welcomes the Saudi decision if they decide to walk on this path.