Saudi Arabia announces ‘Islamic military alliance’ with 34 nations to counter terrorism

State-run Saudi Press Agency released a statement that terrorism constitutes 'a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security'.

By: AP | Riyadh | Updated: December 16, 2015 10:12 am
saudi arabia, saudi, saudi coalition, islamic state, islamic terrorism, terrorism, isis, islamic state, yemen, saudi coalition members, saudi news, saudi arabia news, world news Saudi security forces stand guard outside a hotel where Syrian opposition groups held talks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir has issued a fresh call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down through negotiations or else be forcibly removed from power, as Syrian opposition groups held talks in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Jubeir made the statement on Thursday, while Syrian opposition leaders discussed forming a unified front before proposed peace talks with Assad’s government in Vienna. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that 34 nations have agreed to form a new “Islamic military alliance” to fight terrorism with a joint operations center based in the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.

The announcement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the alliance will be Saudi-led and is being established because terrorism “should be fought by all means and collaboration should be made to eliminate it.” The 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.”

The new counterterrorism coalition includes nations with large and established armies such as Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt as well as war-torn countries with embattled militaries such as Libya and Yemen. African nations that have suffered militant attacks such as Mali, Chad, Somalia and Nigeria are also members.

Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, Shiite Iran, is not part of the coalition. Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposite sides of in the wars raging in Syria and Yemen. Saudi Arabia is currently leading a military intervention in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels and is part of the U.S.-led coalition bombing the Sunni extremist Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

At a rare news conference, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said the new Islamic military coalition will develop mechanisms for working with other countries and international bodies to support counterterrorism efforts. He said their efforts would not be limited to only countering the Islamic State group.

“Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually … so coordinating efforts is very important,” he said.

He said the joint operations center will be established in Riyadh to “coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism” across the Muslim world.

Smaller member-states included in the coalition are the archipelago of the Maldives and the Gulf Arab island-nation of Bahrain, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Other Gulf Arab countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also in the coalition, though notably absent from the list is Oman, a neighbor of Saudi Arabia. In recent years, Oman has maintained a neutral role and has emerged as a mediator in regional conflicts, serving as a conduit from the Gulf Arabs to Iran.

However, Iraq and Syria, whose forces are battling to regain territory taken by the Islamic State group and whose governments are allied with Iran, are not in the coalition.

Benin, while it does not have a majority Muslim population, is another member of this new counterterrorism coalition. All the group’s members are also part of the larger Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

Turkey is the only country in the coalition that is also a NATO member.

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  1. J
    Jai Kumar
    Dec 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm
    Isn't Wahabi Islam the tenet of modern Islamic Jihad (read terrorism). How will the plant fight against its roots .who are the Sauds kidding with.
    1. P
      Partha Gopalan
      Dec 15, 2015 at 7:45 pm
      Organization of countries with Saudi, stan in it sounds like an organization to create terrorists, and not eliminate it. It wont be a surprise if western countries back this against the rest. India is again left out. Hope Indian muslims see the "true picture" behind this
    2. A
      A k
      Dec 16, 2015 at 1:54 am
      Terror groups need to sell oil at any price. Buyers are benefits being oil perched is very very cheap.The terrorist buy arms at any cost from the big arm sellers indirectly. Now big seller of arms very smartly in the name of elemnating terror attack and destroy the sold arms them selves. So this is the cycle. Keep conflict alive and sell arms .
      1. A
        akbarali mirza
        Dec 15, 2015 at 11:29 am
        what is the point of coalition when Syria, Iran, Iraq is not included. Hatred of sects are the most heinous crime that sows the seed of terrorism. The w world should come together to fight terrorism.
        1. A
          Dec 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm
          This coalition will become the biggest threat to the world. this will be the preparation for WWIII and the "Beginning of the End"
          1. D
            Dec 15, 2015 at 10:26 am
            good step by islamic countries to make joint venture to fight extremist and this also a time to give answer to shia power such as iran syria of luck
            1. D
              Dec 16, 2015 at 5:18 am
              Good step from Islamic military a alliance to fight against extremist group.... ISIS is terrorist group and they are coward....all Muslim suffered around the globe because of this ISIS I am saying thanks and best of luck for military alliance to remove ISIS from this globe
              1. A
                Dec 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm
                It will be one of the most powerful alliance in the world since its got money power nukes and man power which is 1.8 billion.
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