By Mohammad Ghazal , AFP – Dec 15,2015 – JORDAN TIMES
AMMAN — The formation of the Saudi-led military coalition of 34 Muslim countries to fight terrorism sends a strong message on how Muslims and Arabs in their countries and abroad are the main victims of terrorism, which seeks to hijack Islam and tarnish its image, experts said Tuesday.
The military coalition will play a decisive role in the war on all terrorist organisations that seek to put Arabs and Muslims at war with the West and cause a clash of civilisations, pitting Islam against the West, the experts said, adding that the coalition’s main task should focus on sending ground troops to uproot terrorists wherever they existed in the region.
“This war against terrorism is the war of Arabs and Muslims to defend themselves,” analyst and columnist Nabil Ghishan told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.
“It seems that the Muslim countries have lost hope that the international coalition against Daesh is capable of making progress in the war on terror. They want to do the job themselves. They are not only the most capable, but it is also their duty to rise to repel terrorists,” said Ghishan.
The formation of the coalition reduces pressure on Muslims in the region and those living abroad, he added.
However, the analyst said that the Arabs and Muslims, along with the rest of the world, should not overlook the fact that Israel is also a terror state, whose aggressions against the Palestinians should be brought to an end.
For Fayez Dwairi, a strategic analyst and retired general, the coalition is “the first actual unified effort by the Muslim countries to fight terrorism and it groups very strategic and important military powers including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf states”.
The announcement of the coalition should be followed by tangible steps on the ground to form a joint command and military units to fight terrorist organisations on the ground wherever they are in the region, said the expert.
“From Morocco to Indonesia, Muslim countries are demonstrating a firm unified position in fighting those that tarnish the image of Islam,” he said.
The task ahead is not an easy one, Dwairi acknowledged, “but it is a good start that should be built on”.
On Jordan’s joining the coalition, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani said the country is always willing to actively participate in any effort to fight terrorism.
“We have been the first to emphasise that this war is our war and Muslims’ war because these terrorist murderers are committing these atrocities in the name of Islam,” Momani told The Jordan Times.
“Terrorism is an immediate and direct threat to the stability and security of our societies,” he added.
The Saudi-led alliance, which does not include the kingdom’s Shiite regional rival Iran, Syria or Iraq, will be based in Riyadh “to coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism”, with participation from Middle Eastern, African and Asian states, the SPA state news agency said.
The coalition will tackle “the Islamic world’s problem with terrorism and will be a partner in the worldwide fight against this scourge” said Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at a press conference in Riyadh, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Arrangements would be made for “coordination with friendly peace-loving nations and international bodies for the sake of supporting international efforts to combat terrorism and to save international peace and security”, SPA added according to AFP.
The 34 members belong to the Jeddah-based 57-member of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The coalition will fight “any terrorist organisation that appears”, said Bin Salman when asked if the alliance would concentrate on fighting Daesh only, according to AFP.