On December 15, Saudi Arabia declared anti-terrorist alliance organization. 34 countries joined the association, including Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Somalia, Chad, Libya, Sierra Leone, etc. The official goal was stated as protection of the Islamic world from the forces of evil – various terror groups regardless of their accessory and religion.
Critics from the USA and Europe have long pointed out that Muslim troops have to take part in fighting against the Islamic State, rather than their own soldiers. They have pushed for a more active participation from other Muslim countries. However, the named alliance creation used this rhetoric as grounds and not as a reason.
The formation of the coalition has a purpose quite different from targeting IS. The attitude towards understanding terrorism varies from West to East. Besides even at a superficial glance, one may note that no Shiite country takes part in the new Muslim anti-terror coalition. That’s looks weird as Iraq, Syria and Iran are now actively struggling with IS. Thus, it resembles more of anti-Shiite union (but not necessarily is, of course – we’ll see later on).
War in Yemen
At the same time, Saudi Arabia is still involved in a civil war in Yemen where they fight against Huthis (local Shiites). In Riyadh, they refer to them as terrorists. The aim was to win quickly, but Saudi and Emirati did not succeed with that. The coalition was declared in the same day that Switzerland organized negotiations between Huthis and Yemeni government. Negotiations didn’t lead to anything as the same day the Shiite rebels carried out a large military operation. More than 150 soldiers and officers were killed.
The alliance could be organized in response to this Huthis military operation. Saudi authorities have made it clear that they would engage Pakistan or Egypt to put squeeze on the rebels. At the same time, they started to deploy ground troops in the North of Yemen – native Huthis land.
Thus, the rejoice of Western partners that Saudis will solve local conflicts to the benefits of Europe and the USA may be untimely. The outcomes may result in a situation where the new anti-terror coalition will lead to terror “flourishing” right beside its territory rather than fight with it.