Saudi Arabia forms coalition of 34 Islamic countries to fight terrorism


Saudi Arabia has formed a military coalition of 34 Islamic countries to combat terrorism, the Saudi government announced on early Tuesday morning, but only few details were immediately released.

The Saudi government said the multi-national coalition includes Turkey, Pakistan, Nigeria, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, and Jordan, but other details were not immediately disclosed. Saudi Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud said the alliance will not just confront the Islamic State (ISIS) group, but “any terrorist group in front of us.”

The coalition will operate a joint operations center in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and coordinate with other international bodies to combat terrorism, a statement said. It emphasized human dignity and the rights to life and security, and said the coalition is committed to eliminate terrorism through the use of international legal instruments.

The full list of countries as announced is as follows: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, Palestine, Comoros, Qatar, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, the Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Yemen.

The Saudi government added that more than a dozen other Islamic countries have expressed support for the military alliance, including Indonesia.

The newly-formed coalition is separate from the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force, which includes a wide range of countries, including Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The Combined Joint Task Force carries out airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq and Syria, though not all countries participate in the airstrikes in Syria.

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