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Russian diplomat: Islamic coalition success against terrorism depends on ability to unite

December 15, 2015, 16:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Islamic military coalition created on Tuesday under the leadership of Saudi Arabia for combating terrorism comprises 34 states

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© AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File

MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. The Islamic military coalition led by Saudi Arabia may be useful in the fight against terrorism if its members put aside foreign political quarrels caused by ideological differences and unite in the struggle against radical Islam, head of the Committee on International Affairs at the Russian Federation Council upper house of parliament Konstantin Kosachev said on Tuesday.

The Islamic military coalition created on Tuesday under the leadership of Saudi Arabia for combating terrorism comprises 34 states.

"If this coalition allows its participants to put aside the foreign political strife, largely caused by ideological differences, it may be useful in the context of the fight against terrorism", the Federation Council official wrote on his Facebook page.

Kosachev said that although "not only the Sunni, but also some Shia countries (e.g., Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain) have been invited to join the coalition," without Iran and Iraq "this coalition cannot be called viable and efficient anyway."

According to him, the success of the fight against international terrorism "now depends on the willingness and ability of the countries facing the common threat to pool their efforts for attaining the declared goals, and not for quietly bringing down the ‘hostile regimes.’ "Obviously, no success has been seen so far, and not through our fault, although more than enough attempts have been made to put the blame for all the recent failures on Russia", he said.

Saudi Arabia has announced the formation of a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, according to a statement released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Tuesday. "The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations centre based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations," the statement says.

The new coalition includes many Arab countries such as Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, together with Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and African states. The announcement 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 terrorise the innocent."

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and defense minister, told a news conference that the campaign would "coordinate" efforts to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan, but declined to elaborate. "There will be international coordination with major powers and international organizations ... in terms of operations in Syria and Iraq. We can’t undertake these operations without coordinating with legitimacy in this place and the international community," he said.

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