Updated 08:23 AM EST, Fri, Nov 27, 2020

Saudi Arabia Announces Formation of a 34-State Islamic Military Coalition to Fight Terrorism

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Saudi Arabia has announced a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism.

According to BBC, a joint operations center is set to be established in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and that countries from Asia, Africa, and the Arab region are involved in the alliance except for Iran, Saudi Arabia's main regional rival.

Deputy Crown Prince and Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said the new coalition will organize efforts against extremist groups in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, BBC listed. The alliance comes after international pressure rained down on the Gulf Arab states to fight the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL or ISIS.

Germany's defense minister commended Saudi Arabia's action on Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen told German broadcaster ZDF that the alliance will be of great assistance to other nations fighting ISIL, Reuters reported. She said that ISIL has gained more power from disagreement among different opposition parties on how to fight the extremist group or who to protect.

"I think it's right that the opposition is forming a group but it needs to be - and this is important - part of the Vienna process that includes all countries fighting against IS like the U.S., Europe, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia but also Iran and China," the German official said, as quoted by Reuters.

Aside from being in the United States-led coalition against ISIL, Saudi Arabia is also heading a military intervention in Yemen against Shia Houthi rebels, BBC noted.

At a news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi defense minister said that combating terrorism originated from "the Islamic world's vigilance in fighting this disease [terrorism] which has damaged the Islamic world," BBC noted.

"Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually... so co-ordinating efforts is very important," he added, as quoted by the news outlet. He also stressed out that Saudi Arabia's coalition will not just fight ISIL.

The SPA state news agency stated that Islam forbids "corruption and destruction in the world" and that terrorism stands for "a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security," BBC noted. The Arab prince said that Islamic countries which have expressed support are required to undergo procedures before joining the coalition.

As provided by BBC, the complete list of the 34 nations involved in the new coalition are as follows: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinians, Qatar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

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