Saudi Arabia announced the formation of “Islamic Military Alliance,” a joint task force meant to fight terrorism. Over 30 nations have agreed to be a part of the alliance and collectively combat the rising threat of ISIS and other terror groups.
A new Islamic alliance has been formed and will be led by Saudi Arabia. The primary purpose of the joint task force will be to share information about possible terror threats. The alliance will also train and equip forces with military grade weapons.
Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s defense minister and deputy crown prince, announced the Islamic Military Alliance. About 34 nations, comprising mostly of Muslim countries, including Egypt and Turkey, have agreed to participate in the alliance and establish a coordinated offensive against “terrorist organizations,” reported Al Jazeera. A statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA reads as follows.
“The new coalition will have a joint operations center based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations. The coalition will have 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 interesting to note statement said Islam forbids “corruption and destruction in the world,” and that terrorism constitutes “a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security,” reported Yahoo.
The alliance will extend military support if it is asked, shared Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who added that the alliance will fight against Islamic State militants. Asked what will be the alliance’s strategy, he said the following.
“Nothing is off the table. It depends on the requests that come, it depends on the need and it depends on the willingness of countries to provide the support necessary.”
Some of the other countries that have agreed to be a part of the alliance include Arab countries such as Qatar and the UAE. Middle Eastern, Asian, and African states including Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Nigeria, too, have pledged their allegiance to the coalition. Some smaller nations who have decided to join the coalition include the archipelago of the Maldives and the Gulf Arab island-nation of Bahrain. Lebanon, the country that has routinely felt the tremors of war being waged in Syria as well as sectarian clashes and militant attacks, decided to join.
Interestingly, Oman hasn’t joined, and vowed to stay neutral. The small country has always remained a mediator in the numerous regional conflicts and has served as a vital link of communication between the Gulf Arabs and Iran. Jordan, whose army personnel were brutally murdered by ISIS, has joined the Saudi-led coalition. Jordan’s spokesperson, Mohammad Momani, said, “Jordan is always ready and actively participates in any effort to fight terrorism.”
Despite the fact that the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, will fight against terrorist organization ISIS, the alliance specifically excluded Shi’ite Muslim Iran and its allies, Syria and Iraq. Incidentally, Iran is the archrival of Sunni Saudi Arabia for influence across the Arab world, while Tehran and Riyadh are on opposite sides in proxy conflicts in Syria and Yemen. All these countries share a common enemy. Despite the exclusion, Bin Salman added that the 34-state coalition will work together to target “any terrorist organization, not just ISIL” in countries including Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Afghanistan.
Bin Salman further added that all military operations would be executed in accordance with local laws and in cooperation with the international community.
“Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually… so coordinating efforts is very important.”
The Saudi Deputy Crown Prince also said that the new Islamic military coalition will develop mechanisms for working with other countries and international bodies to support counterterrorism efforts, reported Fox News. He even categorically noted that the alliance will target all threats and not just ISIS.
[Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images]