Saudis announce Islamic anti-terrorism coalition

Saudi Arabia has said 34 mainly Muslim nations have joined a new military alliance to fight terrorism.

A joint operations centre is to be established in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, state media reported.

Countries from Asia, Africa and the Arab world are involved in the alliance but Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival Iran is not.

It comes amid international pressure for Gulf Arab states to do more in the fight against so-called Islamic State.

Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman said the new alliance would co-ordinate efforts against extremists in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Neither Iraq nor Syria, whose governments are close to Shia-ruled Iran, are in the coalition, nor is Afghanistan.

Two things stand out immediately about this new Saudi-based Islamic Coalition.

The Shia-majority nations of Iran and Iraq are noticeably absent, as is their ally Syria.

It is far from clear how, in practice, the coalition would conduct counter-terrorism operations in IS-plagued Iraq and Syria without the agreement of those governments.

Secondly, there is the question of the exact definition of terrorism. The Saudi authorities’ interpretation of it extends far beyond the violent actions of armed insurgents.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35099318

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