Even the Germans, who have since World War II adopted a policy of avoiding wars, have decided to engage in the battle against terrorist organizations and send a military force to Syria. Prior to this, the Russians had declared they would get involved in Syria, thus daring to impose their political vision on the region and the world.
Due to this international and regional vacuum, certain countries have decided to act against terrorist organizations that consider themselves Muslim, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The damage these groups cause is no longer limited to conflict zones, as extremism and terrorism have become a threat to Muslims and the international community.
We are glad that Riyadh, the capital of the Muslim world, has taken the initiative amid this vacuum, and to fight this germ that is spreading quickly on all continents. The world’s primary enemy today is the terrorism of Islamist organizations. It is very important that action is taken, and that we do not let others assume our responsibilities, thus allowing them to decide and draw the world’s political and ideological map.
For example, we will not agree with Russia on the categorization of terrorists, and we will not accept the sectarian categorization that we have been recently hearing from Washington. It is impossible to sit on the sidelines and watch as each party claims it is the one that will fight terrorist organizations in the region and the world.
The good thing about this Muslim anti-terror alliance, announced by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is that it is not simply an idea or suggestion, but an integrated project. So far, 34 out of 52 Muslim countries have joined. Therefore, the first military alliance of Muslim countries - which can say they are the legitimate ones to fight groups that use Islam to spread chaos and threaten societies - has been born.
Saudi Arabia’s success in establishing this alliance is an important development that is based on international legitimacy and will produce major resultsAbdulrahman al-Rashed
It is a must to move forward and not yield to others. Saudi Arabia’s success in establishing this alliance is an important development that is based on international legitimacy and will produce major results. Iran has tried to establish a grouping that represents it in its war in Syria and Iraq, but it failed because its project was hostile and sectarian. In the end, it turned out to be a gathering for militias, not states.
There are plenty of things the Riyadh-based alliance can do, but I do not believe it will fight other countries’ wars if they do not ask for help. If Egypt desires, it will get military support to confront armed extremist groups in Sinai.
The coalition will also help if international organizations such as the United Nations, or regional ones such as the Arab League, seek its assistance to fight terrorism in countries where there is no legitimacy such as Libya and Syria, or where legitimacy is weak such as in Yemen and Mali.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Dec. 16, 2015.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.