A new Saudi-led Islamic alliance to fight terrorism will share information and train, equip and provide forces if necessary for the fight against Islamic State militants, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time).
Saudi Arabia announced earlier on Tuesday the formation of a 34-nation Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, a move welcomed by the United States which has been urging a greater regional involvement in the campaign against the militants who control swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
“Nothing is off the table,” al-Jubeir said when asked whether the initiative could include troops on the ground.
This is potentially a very good thing.
ISIL wants Western troops on the ground as it fits their vision of a great war between different religions. If ground forces are needed, a coalition of Islamic nations is a far far better option.
A number of Islamic countries are fighting ISIL but it can be un-coordinated, and each having their own agenda such as Turkey who are more focused on the Kurds.
A statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA said the new coalition would have a joint operations centre based in Riyadh to “coordinate and support military operations”.
The states it listed as joining the new coalition included Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and several African nations.
The list did not include Shi’ite Muslim Iran, the arch rival of Sunni Saudi Arabia for influence across the Arab world. Tehran and Riyadh are ranged on opposite sides in proxy conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
A pity Iran is not included, but one step at a time.