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Middle EastSaudi Arabia leads effort to create a Muslim NATO-like alliance
Saudi Arabia has approached thirty-four Muslim-majority countries with a proposal to create a NATO-like military alliance of Islamic countries to combat terrorism. The proposed alliance would not be formed to confront any country in particular, but rather would be put together for the purpose of combatting terrorism. It is unclear whether Iran will be invited to join the new alliance.
Saudi Arabia has approached thirty-four Muslim-majority countries with a proposal to create a NATO-like military alliance of Islamic countries to combat terrorism.
Pakistani news channel Dunya News reported that the proposed alliance would not be formed to confront any country in particular, but rather would be put together for the purpose of combatting terrorism.
The Times of India reports that Pakistan has been tasked with developing the framework for the proposed military alliance of thirty-four Muslim-majority nations.
The plan was agreed on during a 3-day visit by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawz Shareef and the country’s army chief General Raheel Shareef (no relation) to Saudi Arabia.
Among other things, the Pakistani officials were guests at a large-scale joint military exercise which saw troops from twenty-one different countries take part in the maneuvers in northern Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Officials refused to address the question of whether the Muslim nations alliance will include Iran, a Shi’a-majority country.
The Times notes that the Saudi moves comes at a time when that Israel has been quietly developing closer ties with Sunni Arab states. Israel is eager to contain the growing influence of Iran in the region.
The Saudis have already collaborated with other Sunni states to block Iran’s regional ambitions. Saudi and Moroccan troops helped the Bahrain royal family defeat an Iran-backed Shi’a unrest in the small Gulf sheikdom, and Gulf sheikdoms’ air forces have joined the Saudi air force in attacking targets of Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Egyptian and UAE air forces jointly attacked ISIS targets in Libya in 2014 and 2015.