“The enemy is terrorism. It’s not sects or religions or races, its terrorism,”.
The Inaugural Meeting of the #IMCTC ( Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition) Ministers of Defense Council did not include any countries with Shia-dominated governments, such as Iraq, Syria, Quatar or most importantly Iran, which has aided embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country's civil war and backed Shiite militias crucial in pushing ISIS out of Iraq.
Formed in 2015 by then-deputy Crown Prince and defense minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, the IMA has so far only functioned on paper. Now the Crown Prince wants to take his brainchild to the next level by declaring a total “war against terrorism,” during the Sunday summit of IMA, also referred to as the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) or the “Arab NATO.”
Today we start the pursuit of terrorism, and we see its defeat in many facets around, the world especially in Muslim countries... We will continue to fight it until we see its defeat,”
Prince Mohammed bin Salman told defense ministers from nearly 40 Muslim-majority countries who have gathered in Saudi Arabia for the military coalition’s summit.
“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries... this ends today, with this alliance,”
he declared in his opening remarks.
The “Pan-Islamic” Sunni dominated alliance, officially comprising 41 member states, declared two years ago that it intends to also battle the use of Islam by terrorists, reaffirming this principle on Sunday. A retired Pakistani four-star General Raheel Sharif was appointed as commander-in-chief to lead the fight against radical extremists who continue to “tarnish” Islam.
Besides going after the extremist ideology, the Arab nations are also ready to combat terrorism in the communications domain by countering extremist propaganda, and in the financial sphere by going after the sources of terrorist funding.
“The vision of IMCTC is to have a collective response against terrorism capable of leading and coordinating the efforts of member countries with high efficiency and effectiveness,”
said Pakistan’s former military chief, noting that over 200,000 people had been killed in some 70,000 terror attacks in the region in recent years.