- Saudi Arabia, now leading the biggest war games exercise in the Gulf, sees threats across its borders
- Riyadh believes the continuing conflict in Syria has long term consequences for the region
- Saudi ministers say it will only commit ground troops as part of a coalition
Faisal Al Yafai is chief columnist of The National newspaper and can be followed on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
(CNN)To understand Northern Thunder, the biggest war games exercise in the Middle East, which is taking place this month, you have to start much further north -- above the Arctic Circle. So dangerous has the Syrian civil war become, and so desperate the millions of people displaced by it, that thousands are trekking, often on foot, through some of the most desolate regions of Russia and Sweden, simply to reach safety.