Saudi Arabia has formed a coalition of 34 mainly Muslim countries – including powers such as Egypt and Turkey – to coordinate a fight against “terrorist organisations”. The alliance was announced by Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s defence minister and deputy crown prince, on Tuesday. Arab countries such as Qatar and the UAE will join the coalition, as well as Middle Eastern, Asian and African states including Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Nigeria.
“It is time that the Islamic world take a stand, and they have done that by creating a coalition to push back and confront the terrorists and those who promote their violent ideologies,” said Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi’s foreign minister, speaking in Paris.
When asked if the alliance would deploy troops on the ground, Jubeir said “nothing is off the table”. Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran and its allies Syria and Iraq were excluded from the alliance, despite the states sharing a common enemy in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
The 34 nations include:
- United Arab Emirates;
- Sierra Leone;
- Cote d’Ivoire;