Saudi Arabia Announces Islamic Anti-Terrorism Coalition

Saudi Arabia has announced a new military alliance, consisting of 34 predominantly Islamic nations, aimed at combating terrorism.

A new coalition, of 34 predominantly Islamic countries, has been founded by Saudi Arabia, aimed at combating terrorism.

The military alliance comes amid international pressure for Gulf Arab states to do more in the fight against Islamist groups, such as the Islamic State.

Various countries from Asia, Africa and the Arab world are involved in the newly formed coalition, but Iran – Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival – is not.

Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are also not in the coalition, despite Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman stating that the new alliance would coordinate efforts against extremists in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

The 34 nations involved in the coalition are; 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, Palestine, Qatar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

According to Saudi state media, another 10 ‘Islamic countries’ had expressed support of the coalition, including Indonesia.

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed said, “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.”

Prince Mohammed spoke of the importance of coordinating the anti-terrorism efforts of each country, and how the new coalition could benefit the Islamic world’s efforts against extremist groups.

“This comes from the Islamic world’s vigilance in fighting this disease [Islamic extremism] which has damaged the Islamic world,” Prince Mohammed said, “Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually… so co-ordinating efforts is very important.”

The coalition would not just focus on fighting the Islamic State, he added. As part of the alliance, a joint operations centre is to be established in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Few other details about the coalition have been given.

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