A member of the Saudi border guards force mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck, positioned on Saudi Arabia's northern borderline with Iraq, in this July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Faisal Nasser
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The Al-Qaeda breakaway group ISIS rampaged across the border between Syria and Iraq a month ago and has since declared a caliphate across a swathe of the Middle East from Aleppo to the outskirts of Baghdad.Since ISIS launched its lightning offensive last month in Iraq, Riyadh has sent thousands of troops to the border area.Last month King Abdullah pledged to take "all measures" to protect Saudi Arabia, both from ISIS, which Saudi Arabia has labeled a terrorist organization, and also from Shiite militia in Iraq who have mobilized to fight the insurgents.At least 1,000 army soldiers, 1,000 national guardsmen and three helicopter units have arrived to reinforce the border area near the town of Arar since the advance by ISIS militants in June, Gen. Faleh al-Subaii, commander of Saudi border guards in the area, told visiting reporters this week. Although alarmed by ISIS' advance, border officials describe the Shiite militia – allied to the government in Baghdad and to Saudi Arabia's enemy Iran – as the bigger threat.
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