Why Saudis formed anti-terror coalition

BLACKEAGLE

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Why Saudis formed anti-terror coalition
By Nawaf Obaid

Updated 1428 GMT (2228 HKT) December 22, 2015

(CNN)Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi deputy crown prince and minister of defense, announced last week the formation of a kingdom-led, 34-state Islamic coalition to combat terrorism.

The statement from Riyadh cited "a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations, whatever their sect and name, which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent." The major allied partners in the group include Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia and most of the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

This move is based upon some of the core tenets of the emerging Saudi Defense Doctrine, which has been developing over the last several years to address certain regional issues.

First, the Saudis and their allies have come to realize they must solve their own problems in the face of Western withdrawal. Second, they know they need to counter Iran's destabilizing regional actions being carried out in the name of an absurd revolutionary agenda. Finally, it is clear they must take on the terrorist groups and unstable states that are preventing peace and prosperity from taking root in the Middle East.

One of the core tenets of the doctrine on which this new coalition is based is that Saudi Arabia must be able to defend its homeland.

Much of the press has been about the coalition being formed to combat ISIS, and ISIS is definitely a threat to the Saudi homeland because it seeks to reinstate the caliphate and to do so it requires the kingdom's oil wealth and its custodianship of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina. ISIS has even launched a campaign against Saudi Arabia, called qadimun, which means "we are coming" to take over the country. But the kingdom's objective in forming this major coalition goes beyond ISIS, and it will be used to address any entity the Saudis deem to be a threat to their homeland.



Muslim nations vow to fight Islamic extremism 01:37
In fact, as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said vis-à-vis the coalition's potential targets, "Nothing is off the table. It depends on the requests that come, it depends on the need and it depends on the willingness of countries to provide the support necessary."

Another core tenet of the Saudi Defense Doctrine is the importance of succeeding in counterterrorism efforts. Clearly, this new Islamic coalition will have the various terrorist threats of the region in its cross hairs. This will not only include ISIS, but al Qaeda, Hezbollah and other numerous Iran-funded Shia terrorist groups.

The Saudis have built up one of the world's most formidable counterterrorism programs that eradicated the al Qaeda network in the kingdom over the last decade. They and their allies have also engaged in U.S.-led bombings against ISIS in Syria, and they are leading another Arab coalition against the Iran-supported Houthi movement in Yemen. The watershed moment that this coalition potentially represents, however, is the formalized command and control coordination of all 34 nations' counterterrorism efforts, which will undoubtedly bring even greater successes in the global war on terror.

Bolstering the defense of partner states is another core tenet of the doctrine. The Saudis have realized for some time that they cannot allow neighboring states to become unstable. To that end, they have been heavily involved in providing financial and diplomatic support to states suffering in the post-Arab Awakening turmoil. They also intervened militarily in Bahrain when Iranian-guided Shia revolutionaries threatened the stability of the government.

Both of these actions were carried out to foil Iran-supported insurgencies, and there's no doubt the new 34-nation coalition -- from which Iran and its two proxy governments in Iraq and Syria are notably missing -- is partly about countering the Islamic republic's revanchist meddling in the region.


A Saudi coalition? Don't get too excited (Opinion)



To bolster the security of neighboring states, power projection missions to demonstrate real military might will be necessary, and succeeding in these efforts is another tenet of this new Saudi Defense Doctrine. As the threats to the region increase, those missions are likely to become larger and more complicated.

This is why the Saudis have put forth massive diplomatic efforts to pull so many states, especially the ones with powerful militaries, into the strategic fold, such as the Pakistani and Turkish armies.

Clearly, each state is only going to be able to participate in the coalition's efforts relative to its means. Some will provide weapons, some special forces and some financial and political support. But having a large coalition of nations to call upon when power needs to be projected will help the Saudi-led coalition assure that when military might is deployed, it stands the best chance at success.

The Saudi Defense Doctrine emerged out of the post-Arab Awakening disorder. The West, especially the United States, which tacitly supported the various revolutions, has also showed great hesitancy in attempting to solve the problems those revolutions created credibly. This withdrawal has forced the Saudis and their allies to take matters into their own hands, and the new Islamic coalition is a major step in that direction.

This does not mean, however, that the coalition won't be coordinating some actions with the United States and other major powers and international organizations, as Prince Mohammed has said. While the defense doctrine has always been about military independence for the Saudis and their Arab partners, it is also a pragmatic doctrine and will certainly involve elements of Western collaboration.

Over two years ago the Saudi Defense Doctrine began to emerge. The recently announced Saudi-led Islamic coalition against terror is based on the core tenets of that doctrine. The Saudis and their allies are going it alone to solve their region's problems, to counter Iran and to end terror and instability in the Middle East. This coalition is an important step in that direction, but it is only the beginning.
Why Saudis formed anti-terror coalition (Opinion) - CNN.com
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Only Saudi Arabia can defeat Isis
Nawaf Obaid
I have often heard claims that my country created Isis. On the contrary – we are leading the fight against it



Riyadh. ‘Saudi Arabia and Isis are in complete opposition because Isis’s road to the caliphate lies through the kingdom and the Saudi people.’ Photograph: Alamy
Tuesday 22 December 2015 10.32 GMT Last modified on Thursday 24 December 2015 23.24 GMT

As the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino show, Islamic State has achieved a global reach. No longer satisfied with terrorising large swaths of the Middle East, it is inspiring, recruiting, training and supplying terrorists to carry out murderous acts around the world.

Analysis Saudi Arabia's anti-terrorism alliance: a political message sketchy on details

US, Britain and others welcome announcement of 34-member coalition to fight terrorism, but some observers question Saudi motives

Given this new international agenda, analysts are struggling to assess the source of the group in an attempt to improve their understanding of how to stop it. In terms of its source, most point to Saudi Arabia; in terms of stopping it, most point to the United States. However, a closer look at Isis reveals that it is engaged in an entrenched theological war with the Saudi religious establishment to determine who justifiably espouses the purest tenets of Sunni Islam. As the custodian of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina and the host of the world’s Muslims for the pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia leads one and a half billion Muslims in fighting Isis. The kingdom’s leadership of the recently announced Muslim coalition to fight terrorism in all its forms confirms that Saudi Arabia is not only not the source of Isis but it is the terrorist group’s central opponent and the only nation that can fully and legitimately defeat it once and for all. More than 34 countries have joined the coalition.

Three factors clarify Saudi Arabia’s intrinsic and total war on Isis. First, many people claim that Saudi Arabia is the source of Isis because both practise a version of Islam called Salafism (erroneously known in the west as Wahhabism). Salafism is rooted in the word salaf, or “forefathers”, and refers to the way the prophet Muhammad’s followers in the religion’s first three generations practised Islam. And while it is true that the kingdom espouses Salafism, Isis’s claim that it is Salafi has no theological basis, because the group is in fact a continuation of a crude sect known as the Kharijites, or the ones who “defected” from the Muslim community (ummah) during the reign of the fourth caliph Ali (whom the Kharijites assassinated). The Kharijites, like Isis, believe that whoever disagreed with them should be murdered as infidels (takfir), rationalised mass killings against civilians including women and children (isti’rad), and practised an extreme form of inquisition to test their opponents’ faith (imtihan).

Isis’s adherence to the Kharijite ideology is not the only reason it is not a true Salafi movement; it has also committed an act of disobedience that effectively nullifies its Salafi pretenses. In original Islamic scriptures and practice, the highest authority is the “guardian” of the ummah, (wali al amr). All religious, political and military powers are concentrated under this authority, which Saudi Arabia’s system best exemplifies in the modern world. In other words, King Salman’s legitimacy to rule is contingent on him being first and foremost the wali al amr of the people, and in return the people show their acceptance of his rule by proclaiming him as their ruler. This proclamation (bay’ah) is a contract between the ruler and the ruled in which the first swears to promote Islam and the welfare of the second, and the second swears to obey (ta’ah) the tenets of Islam and follow the first’s leadership. Should the first deviate from Islam, the second is obliged to replace him. The joint bay’ah of the ummah to the ruler is fundamental to Salafism and anyone that breaks the bay’ah – as Isis has done – can never again be considered a true Salafi.

Given the importance of the wali al amr to Sunni Islam, Isis and Saudi Arabia are locked in a theological struggle from which only one can emerge victorious.

The second reason Saudi Arabia and Isis are in complete opposition is that the core mission of Isis is to restore the caliphate, an Islamic empire led by a supreme leader. Given that the kingdom is the epicentre of Islam, Isis’s road to the caliphate lies through the kingdom and the Saudi people. Isis has conducted a series of terrorist attacks in the kingdom in the past year. In response Saudi Arabia has put the group on its list of terrorist sponsors, declared that belonging to or funding Isis is a crime punishable by death and arrested countless Isis supporters, operatives and financiers.

The final reason why Saudi Arabia is Isis’s strategic enemy is financial. As an organisation with expanding ambitions, Isis requires ever-expanding resources. Therefore, just like al-Qaida, Isis covets the kingdom’s enormous oil fields and monetary wealth.

When Isis first appeared in Syria in 2011, Saudi Arabia tried to galvanise support for the moderate Syrian opposition. But the world failed to listen. Now Isis is a threat not only to the Middle East but also to the entire world. Only a coalition led by Saudi Arabia can genuinely defeat Isis while also delegitimising the group in the eyes of the wider Muslim world. If the nations of the world hope to completely defeat Isis, they should stop falsely accusing the Saudis of creating the group and instead join them in defeating it.

• This article was amended on 22 December 2015 and again on 24 December 2015 to clarify Nawaf Obaid’s role as a former communications adviser to the Saudi government. This article is written in a personal capacity.

Only Saudi Arabia can defeat Isis | Nawaf Obaid | Opinion | The Guardian
 

Combat Medic

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Saudi Arabia is the only country in the region that has the political and economic means to deal with the regional issues. Add that the military capability along with Jordan, Egypt, UAE and Morocco. We can defeat ISIS because we consider ISIS to be a true terrorist group that is planning against us. Syria, Iraq, Iran and some other western countries view ISIS as a tool that they can manipulate and use to do some dirty work.
 

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