Saudi Arabia Launches 34-state Anti-Terror Coalition

Saudi Arabia Launches 34-state Anti-Terror Coalition

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Saudi Arabia is forming a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, according to government-backed Saudi Press Agency. Among the members of the alliance are Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, and several African states. Notably, Iran is excluded from the coalition.

“The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations,” said the statement.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s defence minister, said that terrorism is a “disease which affected the Islamic world first before the international community as a whole.” The announcement calls on “a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations, whatever their sect and name, which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent.”

It is not yet known what levels of cooperation and coordination will be required by the coalition, nor how efforts will proceed. “There will be international coordination with major powers and international organizations … in terms of operations in Syria and Iraq. We can’t undertake these operations without coordinating with legitimacy in this place and the international community,” said bin Salman.

The coalition’s stated goals are to fight all terrorist organisations that threaten the peace, but it is widely acknowledged that its main foe and target will be ISIS. An understanding in the Saudi kingdom of its own responsibility for the current crisis has began to emerge, former Saudi intelligence chief and then ambassador to the US recently saying that ISIS “is the seed of evil that we have let out of the can in the Middle East. … It’s our responsibility to vanquish it.”