DUBAI: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced the formation of a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, according to a joint statement published on state news agency SPA.
“The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations,” the statement said.
A long list of Arab countries such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, together with Islamic countries Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Gulf Arab and African states were mentioned.
The announcement cited “a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organisations whatever their sect and name which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorise the innocent.”
Iran, Saudi Arabia’s archrival for influence in the Arab world, was absent from the states named as participants, as proxy conflicts between the two regional powers rage from Syria to Yemen.
The United States has been increasingly outspoken about its view that Gulf Arab states should do more to aid the military campaign against the ultraviolent Islamic State militant group based in Iraq and Syria.