Led by KSA, 34-nation alliance to wipe out terror

Updated 16 December 2015

Led by KSA, 34-nation alliance to wipe out terror

JEDDAH/RIYADH: The Saudi government has announced that it would lead a 34-nation alliance against terrorist groups, with a joint operations center set up in Riyadh.
The countries are Jordan, UAE, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, Palestine, Comoros, Qatar, Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Yemen.
“More than 10 other (Muslim-majority) countries have expressed their support for this alliance and will take the necessary measures in this regard, including Indonesia,” the government announced in a statement carried by the SPA.
At a press conference on Monday night at King Salman Air Base in Riyadh, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said that the alliance would operate on UN and OIC provisions on terrorism, which affirms the “right of states to self-defense.”
He said the alliance consists of nations making up most of the Islamic world, which are committed to fighting this “disease which affects first” the Islamic world and then the international community. “Today, every Islamic country is fighting terrorism individually. The coordination of efforts is very important ...”
The 10 other Muslim countries are keen to join and would do so after taking certain “measures,” he said. The announcement of the alliance could not wait for these countries because of the importance of the initiative, he told journalists, according to SPA.
“We have a number of countries suffering from terrorism, including Syria, Iraq, Sinai, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and this requires very strong efforts to fight it. Undoubtedly through this alliance, there will be coordination to fight it ...”
He said that the alliance would not focus only on certain groups such as Daesh, known also as the Islamic State, but confront terrorist operators across the world. He said that operations in Syria would “obviously” not be carried out without working with legitimate groups and the international community.
There would not only be military operations but also attempts to launch media and information campaigns to counter the influence of these groups across the world, he said.

The alliance would share intelligence and deploy troops if needed, said Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Tuesday.
“Nothing is off the table. A number of countries are in desperate need of assistance,” he told reporters in Paris, according to a report by AFP. He said military help would be considered on a “case-by-case basis.”
“Terrorism has hit Islamic countries. It is time that the Islamic world takes a stand,” said Al-Jubeir. The alliance would operate with military operations and campaigns to counter the ideology of these extremist groups, he was quoted as saying.
Al-Jubeir Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states are discussing sending special forces to Syria as part of US-led efforts to fight Daesh.
“There are discussions, countries that are currently part of the coalition (like) Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain about sending in some special forces into Syria, and those discussions are ongoing. It’s not excluded,” Al-Jubeir said.
He said that the discussions were aimed at clarifying the needs and the objectives of such an operation, but that the picture should become clearer in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said she welcomed Saudi Arabia’s announcement.
She reportedly told German broadcaster ZDF the alliance would be of help if it joined other countries fighting Daesh, adding that militants had gained strength from disagreement among various opposition parties on how to fight or who to protect.

Saudi, UAE officials discuss Hajj preparations

Updated 19 min 35 sec ago

Saudi, UAE officials discuss Hajj preparations

  • Mashat stressed the Saudi government’s keenness to serve pilgrims

MAKKAH: Deputy Hajj and Umrah Minister Abdul Fattah Mashat received in his office in Makkah on Tuesday the director general of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs in the UAE and his delegation.

The meeting came within the framework of early preparations for the next Hajj season, including coordinating arrangements for pilgrims and services provided for them.

During the meeting, issues of common interest related to Hajj were discussed, at the forefront of which were the facilities provided to pilgrims and easy completion of their procedures.

Then an official meeting was held to discuss arrangements and early preparations to serve pilgrims from the UAE. Subsequently, Mashat and the director general signed an agreement for Hajj arrangements.

In a press statement after the signing, Mashat stressed the Saudi government’s keenness to serve pilgrims.

The director general thanked the Saudi government and all those in charge of the Hajj system for their great efforts.

“We see excellence and advancement in the Hajj management system and by Saudi human cadres,” he said.

“We wish them all the best, and we in the UAE are part of this system and a partner in the service of pilgrims.”