December 15, 2015
Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday what it called a new Islamic military alliance made up of 34 countries to fight terrorism.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency published a statement saying the initiative will include an operations center in Riyadh to coordinate military operations.
The statement said terrorism is a “serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security,” and that “acts of corruption and terrorism cannot be justified in any way.”
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said at a news conference there will not be a focus on any one terror group.
“Today there are a number of countries that suffer from terrorism, for example Daesh [Islamic State] in Syria and Iraq; terrorism in Sinai, terrorism in Yemen, terrorism in Libya, terrorism in Mali, terrorism in Nigeria, terrorism in Pakistan, terrorism in Afghanistan and this requires a very strong effort to fight. Without a doubt, there will be coordination in these efforts,” he said.
The alliance includes Jordan, Bahrain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which are conducting airstrikes in Syria as part of a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. Others from the Middle East include Tunisia, Lebanon, Libya and Egypt. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia are also part of the effort, as are a number of African countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Mali and Nigeria.
The Saudi statement said others have “expressed their support,” including Indonesia, the home of the world’s largest Muslim population.