Islamic anti-terror coalition is not against any country, sect or religion, says commander

Saudi Lt. Gen. Abdullah Al-Saleh (right) and Gen. Raheel Sharif, the military commander of the IMCTC, attend a press conference during the first meeting of the defense ministers of the 41-member coalition in Riyadh on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 27 November 2017
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Islamic anti-terror coalition is not against any country, sect or religion, says commander

RIYADH: Gen. Raheel Sharif, the military commander of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), said on Sunday the coalition’s sole objective is to fight against terrorism and it is not against any country, sect or religion.
At the IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council in Riyadh, Gen. Sharif said: “A number of our member countries are under tremendous pressure while fighting well established terrorist organizations due to capacity shortages of their armed forces and law enforcement agencies.”
The coalition will act as a platform to assist member countries in their counterterrorism operations through intelligence sharing and capacity building, he said.
“The vision of IMCTC is to have a collective response against terrorism capable of leading and coordinating the efforts of member countries with high efficiency and effectiveness,” said Pakistan’s former military chief.
Explaining the mechanism of the coalition, he said it is divided into four main domains.
The first domain, Gen. Sharif said, will focus on countering terrorist Ideology. “Effort will be made to preserve and promote Islam’s universal message of moderation, tolerance and compassion, by creating intellectual, psychological and social impact to counter the perverted radical views.”
He said the IMCTC will also develop, produce and publish factual media content for dialogue to correct perceptions and discredit radical and extremist narratives.
“Next is terrorist financing. IMCTC will endeavor to dry up all types of financial support to terrorist organizations,” the retired Pakistani general said.
Responding to a query by Arab News about the likelihood of the coalition brokering a deal with social media companies in order to remove terrorist and extremist content, the IMCTC military commander said: “The collaboration is currently taking place. Besides fighting ideology, and denouncing the terrorist spirit, a lot of collaborations is going on.” 
The IMCTC military commander said to improve coordination, joint exercise will be conducted based on near real-time scenarios demanding quick response and promoting a sense of solidarity and shared responsibility to fight terrorism.
In addition, IMCTC will create a state-of-the-art intelligence and information-sharing platform to counter terrorist networks their facilitators, abettors, sympathizers and financiers. After correlating and incisive analysis of critical information, actionable intelligence will be put in place, he said.
Responding to a query by Arab News about the likelihood of the coalition brokering a deal with social media companies in order to remove terrorist and extremist content, the IMCTC military commander said: “The collaboration is currently taking place. Besides fighting ideology, and denouncing the terrorist spirit, a lot of collaborations is going on.”


Saudi Arabia rejects US Senate position

Updated 17 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia rejects US Senate position

  • “The Kingdom is keen on preserving its relations with the United States of America, and will continue to work towards improving these ties in all areas”
  • Saudi Arabia continues its efforts towards achieving a political solution in Yemen

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia said it “rejects the position expressed recently by the United States Senate,” while also affirming a commitment to further develop relations with the US.
The Senate’s position had been based on “ unsubstantiated claims and allegations, and contained blatant interferences in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, undermining the Kingdom’s regional and international role,” a Saudi Foreign Ministry statement said.
The Kingdom also expressed concern about the positions held by senators of “an esteemed legislative body of an allied and friendly government, a government that the Kingdom, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince, holds at the highest regard, and with whom the Kingdom maintains deep strategic, political, economic, and security ties ” the statement read.
Saudi Arabia also rejected “any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership, represented by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque and the Crown Prince, and any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature.”
The statement also talked of the Kingdom’s vital strategic influence in the region and beyond.
“The Kingdom also emphasizes that such a position will not affect its leading role in the region, in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and internationally. The Kingdom has and will continue to fulfill its pivotal role in the Arab and Muslim Worlds, as it holds a special place for Muslims around the world.  Such a status has made the Kingdom a pillar of stability in the Middle East and the world, and a cornerstone for the efforts to achieve peace and security regionally and globally.” 
Saudi Arabia also enjoys a leading role in supporting the stability of international energy markets through maintaining a balance that serves both producers and consumers, the statement said.
On the fight against terror, the Kingdom has “made a great impact in the demise of terrorist organizations such as Daesh, Al-Qaida and others, saving many innocent lives around the world.  These contributions included the formation and leadership of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, and the effective participation in the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.”
The statement also said that the Kingdom steadfastly stood by the United States of America in confronting Iran’s malign activities and continues its efforts towards achieving a political solution, by the Yemeni parties, to the situation in Yemen based on UNSC resolution 2216, the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism, and the outcomes of the Comprehensive Yemeni National Dialogue, including the efforts by the United Nations Special Envoy that led, with the support of the Kingdom, to the agreements that were announced recently in Sweden.
And on the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen: “The Kingdom considers the humanitarian situation in Yemen a priority and it provides, through the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid and Relief, significant aid to the Yemeni people in all areas of Yemen. The Kingdom cooperates with relevant international organizations and bodies to deliver aid to people in need,” the statement read.
The statement also said the “murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi is a deplorable crime that does not reflect the Kingdom’s policy nor its institutions.  Accordingly, the Kingdom reaffirms its rejection of any attempts to take the case out of the path of justice in the Kingdom.”
And on the longstanding Saudi-US relationship: “The Kingdom is keen on preserving its relations with the United States of America, and will continue to work towards improving these ties in all areas. The Kingdom appreciates the prudent position taken by the United States Government and its institutions regarding the recent developments, as it realizes that this position by the US Senate sends the wrong messages to all those who want to cause a rift in Saudi-US relationship. The Kingdom hopes that it is not drawn into domestic political debates in the United States of America, to avoid any ramifications on the ties between the two countries that could have significant negative impacts on this important strategic relationship,” said the statement.