THE NEW SAUDI VIRTUAL COALITION AGAINST ‘EXTREMISM’
Saudi Arabia has said, on Monday 12/14/2015, 34 mainly Muslim nations have joined a new military alliance to fight terrorism. A joint operations centre is to be established in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, state media reported.
Countries from Asia, Africa and the Arab world are involved in the alliance but Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival Iran is not. It comes amid international pressure for Gulf Arab states to do more in the fight against so-called Islamic State.
Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman said the new alliance would coordinate efforts against extremists in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are not in the coalition.
“This comes from the Islamic world’s vigilance in fighting this disease [Islamic extremism] which has damaged the Islamic world,” Mr bin Salman said. “Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually… so co-ordinating efforts is very important.” The coalition would not just focus on fighting ISIS, he added. Few other details have been given.
Asked if the new alliance would focus just on Islamic State, bin Salman said it would confront not only that group but “any terrorist organization that appears in front of us.” avoiding to mention ISIS is its specific reference .
The SPA state news agency said 10 other “Islamic countries” had expressed support, including Indonesia.
In announcing the coalition, SPA stated that Islam forbids “corruption and destruction in the world” and that terrorism represents “a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security”.
The list of 34 members: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinians, Qatar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Saudi Arabia is part of the already fading US-led coalition against ISIS and is also leading another coalition in Yemen against Shia Houthi rebels backed by Iran. . There is a growing understanding in the Western Democracies that without partnership with Muslim Countries in fighting the Islamic State there is no real hope of overcome the phenomena, Therefore there is also a growing pressure on leading Arab countries to align themselves with the Western war on ISIS. For some of those countries it could be a recipe for internal instability, other countries support directly or indirectly Islamic Jihadi Terror groups and each of those 34 countries has a different goal and perception in joining the new virtually nonexistent coalition.
If there is any coalition to bound all those countries together it is, most likely, the fear and resentment to Shiite Iran.
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