US, Saudi forces conclude Falcon Claw drills aimed at combat readiness

By Al-Mashareq


US and Saudi troops take part in the Falcon Claw IV military exercises held June 8-28 in northwestern Saudi Arabia. [Saudi Ministry of Defence/Twitter]

Recent US-Saudi military drills are illustrating the two countries' co-operation against various regional threats.

The US Army and the Royal Saudi Land Forces concluded the Falcon IV exercise on June 28.

The drills began on June 8 and took place in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia.

The Falcon IV US-Saudi exercise was aimed at strengthening military relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia, exchanging military expertise, and raising combat readiness to face external threats, said the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).


US and Saudi troops take part in the Falcon Claw IV military exercises held June 8-28 in northwestern Saudi Arabia. [Saudi Ministry of Defence/Twitter]

A 'strong understanding'

"We have a strong understanding with ... our allies about the threat in the region," said Turki al-Maliki, a Saudi officer and a spokesman for the Arab coalition supporting Yemen's internationally recognised government, on June 18.

The Falcon Claw IV drills included indirect fire, command and control, offensive combat transport and explosive disposal training.

Falcon Claw IV followed another exercise in May.

The United States and Saudi Arabia conducted the Desert Mirage III joint exercise at Prince Sultan Air Base on May 18-19.

The exercise included a number of trainings on joint combat scenarios to face off emerging threats and upgrade the level of joint combat readiness, the SPA reported.

It also sought to "deepen the ties of co-operation among the Saudi forces and the US forces, to reach the required deterrence to any possible attack that would threaten regional security and safety", it added.

Meanwhile, Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman Wednesday (July 7) discussed security matters with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a visit to Washington.

Khalid bin Salman -- the younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- is the highest-ranking visitor from Saudi Arabia to visit Washington since President Joe Biden took office.

Blinken spoke with the prince about "efforts to achieve a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire and transition to a political process in Yemen", where Houthi rebels have mounted a deadly offensive, the US State Department said in a statement.

The two parties discussed "the need for economic reform and humanitarian relief for the Lebanese people and other key bilateral issues, including human rights," according to the State Department.

The prince Tuesday conferred with Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser. They discussed the "US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups", the White House said.

Combatting regional threats

The recent exercises demonstrate the ability of the United States and Saudi Arabia to counter threats by destabilising actors in the region, such as Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which funds and directs a host of proxies throughout the region.

In Iraq, Iran-backed militias have launched repeated rocket attacks on Western diplomatic personnel, coalition supply convoys and US troops.

Tehran also supports the Houthis in Yemen, who are pressing an offensive against the Saudi-backed internationally recognised goverment in Sanaa and who have launched numerous rocket and drone attacks on Saudi targets.

Iran-backed Houthis have led a months-long offensive to seize Marib and its surrounding oil fields -- the last significant pocket of government-held territory in the north.

The offensive is adding to the already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.

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