- As ISIS members say they want to ‘sack the holy city’, Riyadh calls in military assistance from its close allies to shore up the porous 500-mile border
- Pro-ISIS graffiti begins to appear around the kingdom while residents in parts of Riyadh woke in June to find jihadist leaflets on their car windscreens
Saudi Arabia has deployed thousands of troops from Egypt and Pakistan along its frontier with Iraq, amid fears of invasion by the al-Qaeda splinter group that has declared a radical Islamic state across the border.
Panicked by the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Riyadh has taken the drastic step of calling in military assistance from its close allies to shore up the porous 500-mile border, Gulf security sources said.
Saudi Arabia spent an estimated £35 billion on defence last year, leapfrogging Britain as the world’s fourth-largest military spender. This massive outlay highlights Riyadh’s unease about whether its defences would hold if the jihadists launched a direct attack.
Uppermost among Saudi concerns is the defence of Mecca. Members of ISIS have made it clear online that they want to sack the holy city. “The kingdom is calling in favours from Egypt and Pakistan,” an adviser to the Saudi government said. “No one is certain what Isis has planned, but it’s clear a group like this will target Mecca if it can. We expect them to run out of steam, but no one is taking any chances.”
ISIS, which now calls itself Islamic State, seized large swathes of northern and western Iraq in a lightning military offensive in May and June, triggering panic throughout the region. The group has since declared an Islamic state, or caliphate, launching a reign of terror on land that it controls in Iraq and Syria.
Full article: Saudia calls in Pakistani troops for protection against ISIS (Pakistan Today)