20 December 2015

Another Glorious Saudi Foreign Policy Triumph

The House of Saud has announced a new Muslim coalition to fight terror.

One small problem though, 2 of the more important members of the coalition, Pakistan and Lebanon, have denied being members of the coalition, while Indonesia and Malaysia have indicated that their roles would be far more circumscribed than announced:
Earlier this week Saudi Arabia announced a new 34-country coalition of Muslim nations to fight terrorism, but two of the key countries have said they had no idea they were involved.

The countries from Asia, Africa and the Arab world were combining their efforts to combat extremism, according to the Saudis, who have faced mounting pressure to step up efforts in addressing the threat of extremism.


But following the statement at least two governments have claimed they were not aware of their own involvement. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, has been quoted as saying he only learnt of his country’s inclusion in the alliance from news reports.

He is said to have phoned the country’s ambassador in Saudi capital Riyadh – where a joint operations centre is planned – for clarification. Senior officials claimed they were not consulted beforehand.


Lebanon was also equally baffled country following the announcement, according to Lebanese media outlet Naharnet. The Prime Minister Tammam Salam reportedly welcomed the news, saying: “Lebanon is at the forefront of the confrontation with terrorism.”

In contrast the Foreign Ministry was adamant they had no “memo or phone call mentioning this coalition.” They added they had :"No knowledge whatsoever of the issue of forming an Islamic anti-terror coalition."

The office also questioned whether the move encroached on their ‘constitutional jurisdiction on foreign affairs’.

Indonesia was also said to be still deciding whether to join, while Malaysia ruled out any military intervention.
This is not surprising.

The non-Arab Muslim nations have very little interest in being part of an endeavor directed by the House of Saud, and majority Shia Lebanon would not be a big supporter of this initiative, since it would likely involve efforts to extend Sunni hegemony in the region.


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