US, Saudi forces launch 'friendship' war games amid Yemen offensive
Iran Press TV
Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:28AM
Saudi and US military forces have launched joint "friendship" war games in the kingdom's northern region as the Riyadh regime presses ahead with its deadly campaign against Yemen with Washington's support.
The maneuvers, dubbed Friendship Military Exercises 2018, are due to continue for several days with the announced objective of boosting military ties between the two countries, Saudi state news outlet al-Arabiya reported Monday.
The report further cited Saudi military's Assistant Training Director Brigadier General Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Buqmi as emphasizing "the readiness" of the Saudi forces taking part in the drills and equipment "to carry out the exercise activities as planned."
According to the mostly pictorial report, American forces participating in the war games had arrived in Saudi Arabia "days earlier with all its military personnel and technical equipment," without elaborating on the sorts of military hardware and the number of troops deployed for the drills.
Since March 2015, the Saudi regime, together with a coalition of its allies, has been striking Yemen. It has been attempting unsuccessfully to reinstall Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
More than 13,600 people have so far been killed since the Saudi military invasion of Yemen began, turning the impoverished nation into the scene of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Moreover, much of the country's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and factories, has been reduced to rubble in the Saudi war.
The development comes a day after Yemen's Prime Minister Abdel-Aziz bin Habtour said in a Press TV interview that the Saudi regime would not be able to carry out airstrikes against the impoverished country without Washington's active backing.
In addition to its logistical support, the US has been lavishing sophisticated weaponry upon Saudi Arabia since March 2015.
According to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Saudi Arabia has registered a 225-percent rise in military purchases - almost all from the US and Europe – over the past five years.
The American weapon sales to Riyadh include a $110-billion deal signed last May when US President Donald Trump paid a visit to the oil-rich kingdom in his maiden foreign visit.
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