Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that 34 nations have agreed to form a new "Islamic military alliance" to fight terrorism with a joint operations center based in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh. The announcement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the alliance will be Saudi-led and is being established because terrorism "should be fought by all means and collaboration should be made to eliminate it." The statement said Islam forbids "corruption and destruction in the world" and that terrorism constitutes "a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security."
At a news conference, Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said the new Islamic military coalition will develop mechanisms for working with other countries and international bodies to support counterterrorism efforts. He said their efforts would not be limited to countering ISIS alone. "Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually ... so coordinating efforts is very important," he said. The new counterterrorism coalition includes nations with large and established armies such as Pakistan, Turkey, and Egypt, as well as war-torn countries with embattled militaries such as Libya and Yemen. Saudi Arabia's Shiite regional rival, Iran, and its allies Iraq and Syria are not part of the new coalition.