Imaginary Saudi-Led 34 State Islamist Military Alliance Begins To Dissolve

Role of Saudi-led ‘military alliance’ put to question as some members reject participation



© Faisal Al Nasser
The international community has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s initiative to create a coalition against terrorism. However, its “military and ideological” role has been met with confusion even among members, some of whom didn’t know they were included.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced the creation of an ‘Islamic military alliance’ with a mission to fight terrorism. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the coalition of 34 Muslim states would fight the scourge in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

The coalition members are to share intelligence, train, equip and possibly even provide forces to fight against militants such as Islamic State and al Qaeda, said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

“Nothing is off the table,” he stated regarding the possibility of deploying boots on the ground.

Pakistan got to know of its participation via news

A day after Riyadh announced the formation of the coalition, some of its members said that have been caught off guard and never agreed to take part in the alliance.

Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry © Aamir Qureshi

Pakistan, one of the coalition members announced by Saudi Arabia, has denied its participation. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told journalists that he got to know of the coalition through news reports, adding that Pakistan was not consulted about it, Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday. He added that Islamabad was seeking details about the misunderstanding.

Malaysia denies taking part

Malaysia, another Muslim country which was put by Riyadh in the list of the 34 participants, also denied taking part in the military alliance. Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told journalists that Kuala Lumpur will not join Riyadh, however it will continue to be part of the international fight against terrorism, the Rakyat Post reported.

Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein © Olivia Harris

Indonesia skeptical about ‘military alliance’

Indonesia, a country with the world’s largest Muslim population, said that it was approached by Saudi Arabia concerning anti-terrorism cooperation, however it needs details before considering to join a ‘military alliance.’
Armanatha Nasir, Foreign Ministry spokesman said it is “important for Indonesia to first have details before deciding to support” any military actions, he said.

However, Indonesian Chief Security Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said later, as quoted by Reuters: “We don’t want to join a military alliance.”

 Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir © AP Archive

US wants to know more

The US, which is leading its own bombing campaign in Syria targeting IS militants, has welcomed the initiative. However, Washington seemed rather puzzled in terms of how the coalition’s operations would work.

“We look forward to learning more about what Saudi Arabia has in mind in terms of this coalition,” US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter © Carlos Barria

Russia expects details

Russia said that it expects a more detailed account from Riyadh of its initiative. “We expect to receive more detailed information from the initiators of this process as well as we would want to know more about what was discussed in Paris yesterday,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying on Wednesday.

Foreign ministers from the US, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey met in Paris on Monday to discuss the Syrian crisis ahead of the talks in New York on Friday that would include Russia.

Russia has been conducting its own airstrikes targeting IS and other terrorist groups in Syria since September 30. The strikes were launched at the formal request of Damascus. The Russian-led operation also involves coordinating its efforts with regional governments, including those of Syria, Iran and Iraq, which is known as the RSII coalition.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov © Sergey Karpukhin

Turkey welcomes Riyadh-led military coalition

Ankara, the only NATO state in the alliance, has agreed to take part in the Saudi-led initiative.

“The best response to those striving to associate terrorism and Islam is for nations of Islam to present a unified voice against terrorism,” said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday.

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu © Umit Bektas

However Turkish role in the fight against IS has been put to question. Russia’s Defense Ministry has recently claimed that Ankara is the main consumer of oil smuggled by IS from Syria and Iraq, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family are involved in the criminal business.

READ MORE: Russia says Turkey’s Erdogan & family involved in illegal ISIS oil trade

Meanwhile, Turkish MP Eren Erdem has told RT that IS terrorists in Syria received all necessary materials to produce deadly sarin gas via Turkey.

Washington has been urging Ankara to secure its Syrian border, which has been partially in the control of IS on the Syrian side. However Turkey has expressed skepticism, saying that it would be extremely difficult.

Iran, Iraq, Syria not invited by Saudi to the block

Despite Riyadh’s initiative to possibly involve the alliance’s ground troops in the fight against IS, Iraq and Syria have not been invited to the bloc.

Iraq said it was confused by the role of the alliance in the fight against terrorism in the region.

“This makes it very confusing for us. Who will be the one leading the fight against terrorism in the region?” asked Nasser Nouri, spokesman for Iraq’s defense ministry, as quoted by the Wall Street journal on Tuesday. “Will it be the larger international coalition, and if so, what will be the point of having this new alliance.”

US Refuses To Bomb Caliphate Media Centers In ISIS Communities, Fearing “Civilian” Casualties

US refuses to bomb Islamic State’s ‘media centers’ over possible civilian casualties



An Islamic State fighter uses a mobile to film his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. © Stringer
US intelligence services have mapped Islamic State’s media installations producing terrorist propaganda for the internet, yet none of them have been bombed out for fear of collateral damage and the need for intelligence to monitor the jihadists’ operations.

The terrorists’ media centers, which edit and compile video and written material for propaganda over the web are located in residential areas in Iraq, Libya and Syria. The whereabouts of such installations are well known and thoroughly mapped out after a months-long clandestine intelligence program, The Washington Times reports, citing anonymous sources.

 Embedded image permalink

To would be ISIS recruits. Welcome to the meat grinder…

US-led coalition pounds -stronghold of Raqqa with leaflets

Coalition Warplanes Drop leaflet over the city of Raqqa

Obviously, if we know where they’re producing the propaganda, we should be doing everything we can to destroy their facilities,” William McCants, a Brookings Institution scholar and former State Department senior adviser for countering violent extremism, told The Washington Times.

But the Obama administration has not rushed to target these facilities with airstrikes or Hellfire missiles fired from drones. The explanation offered is not hard to plumb: innocent civilians in neighboring buildings might die as a result of an airstrike. Yet The Washington Times also mentions another declared reason for keeping the terrorists’ “propaganda bullhorn” in operation.

The White House expects US intelligence to keep Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) public relations operations under scrutiny “to learn how the Islamic State and its media enterprises operate,” The Washington Times said.

So ISIS’s “digital warriors” continue to disseminate radical Islam around the world, recruiting new jihadists and radicalizing young Muslims. In the meantime, America’s counter-terrorist media efforts have little to show.

The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications inside the State Department created in 2011 has 69 employees busy disseminating anti-Islamic State messages in multiple languages.

A State Department official told The Times that the majority of those employees are focused on “crafting messaging that exposes ‘weakness’ and ‘lies’ in Islamic State propaganda.

The same official revealed that with an annual budget of $5.5 million the center is “grossly underfunded,” claiming the critics of the interagency misunderstand the importance of the unit’s operations in the long-term perspective of fighting Islamic extremism.

In early December, The Washington Times reported that the US State Department might scale back its direct involvement in online Islamic State defamation campaigns after outside experts “cast new doubt on the US government’s ability to serve as a credible voice against the terrorist group’s propaganda.”

While US social media companies are in defensive posture, simply blocking extremist content and deleting jihadi links from their area of responsibility, the Islamists assume the offensive, learning to wage media campaigns, producing influential HD-quality video with special effects and making into page professionally designed multilingual agitprop.

The jihadists are mastering the art of trolling, too. The latest extremist video issued a month ago boasts the terror acts staged in Paris and promises the US the same approach, noting parenthetically about American war veterans that returned from “victorious” campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, suffering from the PTSD and committing suicides by thousands.

ISIS “editing suites” producing extremist videos are scattered about the Middle East countries and beyond, be it in Northern Africa or the North Caucasus.

UK-based counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation reported in October that there at least 35 media centers producing Jihadist propaganda material from “all corners of the Islamic State ‘caliphate.’”

As The Washington Post reported in late November, one such media center was spotted near the Syrian city of Aleppo. A two-story building in a residential neighborhood was reportedly stuffed with high-end equipment, used Internet access through a Turkish wireless service and served as an “editorial office” for Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine and al-Furqan media channel.

But the Pentagon declined to comment on The Post’s findings.

The Quilliam Foundation notes that Islamic State’s “exceptionally sophisticated” information operation campaign is based on “quantity and quality” principles.

Given this scale and dedication, negative measures like censorship are bound to fail,” the report concluded.

Yemeni Armed Forces Warn of Saudi Bombing Escalation During One-Sided “Ceasefire”

Armed Forces spokesman warns of the danger of military escalation of the forces of aggression and blatant violation of the cease-fire


Gen. Luqman  Brigadier General Ghalib Luqman, official spokesman of the Armed Forces
SANA’A, (Saba) –
He warned the official spokesman of the Armed Forces Brigadier General Ghalib honor Luqman, of the seriousness of what the coalition forces and their mercenaries aggression on the ground, it is a flagrant violation of the cease-fire called by the United Nations yesterday. Brigadier-General Lukman, in a statement to the state news agency Saba that unjust war waged by states led by Saudi Arabia alliance aggression I still ongoing and did not stop, but on the contrary there is a significant escalation by them during the past two days. “

“The forces of aggression has intensified its air, sea and land bombardment of hundreds of communities and vital installations in the last 48 hours.”

He noted that the front sleepless instigated saw the intensity of the fires is unsurpassed by Saudi forces of aggression with continuing attempts to crawl backing Aviation F-16 and Apache, with the approach of warships hostile from the west coast of the Republic of Yemen and intense shelling on the coast of the province of Hodeidah, especially on the city beard .. pointing out Attempts to creep forces of aggression and their mercenaries in front of Marib are no other users of all arms in heavy shelling on the diamond area stop.

He said Brigadier General Lokman this escalation by the forces of aggression, despite the start of negotiations, Switzerland, the definitive guide to arrogance and arrogance of the leaders of aggression and lack of respect for the call of the United Nations cease-fire.

He stressed that the escalation based suspicious and dangerous military moves by the Saudi side does not represent the behavior of a simple violations can be overlooked, but rather a war fact continuing even tougher than ever before in desperate attempts to occupy any part of the territory of the Republic of Yemen .. stressing that the army and people’s committees in front of this escalation dangerous and internecine war being waged on our people Yemeni peaceful and patient and steadfast in the face of aggression will be forced Wen to defend and react strongly to the attacks blatant obvious cease-fire breaches.

He held the official spokesman of the Armed Forces states alliance aggression and the United Nations Committee on the monitoring of the ceasefire responsible for what is happening on the ground of violation and destruction and killing of the Yemeni people and the consequent reactions of nature by the army and the popular committees against such violations.



Maulvi Umar, a Taliban spokesman, speaks during a press conference in Khar, the main town of Pakistan tribal region Bajur, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008. Umar is warning Pakistan's government to end a military crackdown against insurgents or face suicide bombings and other attacks. (AP Photo/Anwarullah Khan)

Maulvi Umar, a Taliban spokesman, speaks during a press conference in Khar, the main town of Pakistan tribal region Bajur, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008. Umar is warning Pakistan’s government to end a military crackdown against insurgents or face suicide bombings and other attacks. (AP Photo/Anwarullah Khan)

His name is Maulvi Umar]

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar[THIS IS BARADAR (“Mullah Brother”),

as he was being led into a meeting with HPC (High Peace Council) representatives In Islamabad.–Sep 11, 2013]

 Maulvi Umar, a Taliban spokesman, speaks during a press conference in Khar, the main town of Pakistan tribal region Bajur, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008. Umar is warning Pakistan's government to end a military crackdown against insurgents or face suicide bombings and other attacks. (AP Photo/Anwarullah Khan)
by Anwarullah Khan, AP
Maulvi Umar, a Taliban spokesman, speaks during a press conference in Khar, the main town of Pakistan tribal region Bajur, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008. Umar is warning Pakistan’s government to end a military crackdown against insurgents or face suicide bombings and other attacks. (AP Photo/Anwarullah Khan)
KHAR, Pakistan — A Taliban spokesman on Tuesday warned Pakistan’s government to end a military crackdown against insurgents in a restive northwestern mountain valley or face suicide bombings.

Maulvi Umar said the government has run out of time and must stop the current military operation in the Swat Valley, where the army says bloody clashes this week have left 125 dead.

“Our ultimatum has ended. Now they have made a strike and it is our turn to strike whether it will be tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or whenever,” Umar told a news conference in a village mosque in Bajur tribal region bordering Afghanistan guarded by more than 100 heavily armed militants.

Umar is spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella organization of militant groups led by Baitullah Mehsud, the country’s top Taliban leader.

Umar spoke jointly with Maulana Faqir Mohammed, a cleric who is suspected by Pakistani intelligence of ties with al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

In comments apparently intended to reflect public enthusiasm for the Taliban’s armed struggle, Mohammed claimed they have received requests from a large number of women to be trained for suicide attacks.

The violence has erupted in Swat despite a peace agreement between a pro-Taliban cleric, Mullah Fazlullah, and the provincial government reached in May.

Under the pact, militants agreed to recognize the government’s authority and halt attacks in return for the release of prisoners and government concessions on implementation of Islamic law.

Umar accused the government of violating the accord. He threatened suicide bombings and other attacks targeting the government and senior officials.

A provincial government spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the militant threat.

Authorities say more than 60 girls schools have been set on fire in recent weeks and security forces attacked. On Saturday, nine police and paramilitary troops were killed in a bombing on a bridge.

Many observers say the lull in hostilities that followed the May peace deal has allowed militants who were targeted in a major military offensive late last year to regroup.

The army said Tuesday that since the latest security operation began July 30, 11 troops, 20 civilians and 94 militants have died. It was not possible to confirm that toll independently.

Meanwhile in Bajur, a clash between security forces and militants left one paramilitary soldier dead Tuesday.

The shootout broke out after troops resisted militants who were trying to occupy a security post in Arrang, a village east of the region’s main town of Khar, said Fazal Rabi, a local senior security official.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.