Saudi Arabia Announces Islamic Anti-Terrorism CoalitionJanuary 13, 2016 in Saudi Arabia
On 15 December, Saudi Arabia announced that thirty-four mainly Islamic nations have joined a new military alliance aimed at fighting terrorism. News of the alliance comes amidst international pressure for Gulf Arab states to do more in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.
State media have reported that a joint operations centre is to be established in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. According to Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, the new alliance would co-ordinate efforts against extremists in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Prince Mohammed has further disclosed that the decision to form such an alliance “…comes from the Islamic world’s vigilance in fighting this disease (Islamic extremism) which has damaged the Islamic world.” He further added that “currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually…so co-ordinating efforts is very important.” While few other details about the coalition have been released, Prince Mohammed has disclosed that the coalition would not just focus on fighting IS.
The SPA state news agency has report that then other “Islamic countries” had expressed support, including Indonesia, with Prince Mohammed stating that “these countries have procedures to go through before joining the coalition, but out of keenness to achieve this coalition as soon as possible, (the alliance of) 34 countries has been announced.” In announcing the coalition, the SPA indicated 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 is the following: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, 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. Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are not part of the coalition. Saudi Arabia is already part of the US-led coalition against IS and is also leading a military intervention in Yemen against Shia Houthi rebels.