Dr. MINHAJ QIDWAI
The 34 member military coalition of unilaterally selected countries and deceptively termed as ‘Islamic Coalition’ is a contagious announcement from Saudis. The coalition has been cleverly contrived to eliminate many eminent Muslim countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria and Oman. Taken for granted’, countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh are disillusioned for their participation, discovering about their membership through the communication.
The Saudi led ‘Islamic coalition’ can be termed as a ‘Wahabi’ sectarian outfit. It is a highly ill-advised development that could have long term implications of embroiling the Muslim world in a needless and endless internal conflict. It pits one faction of Muslim countries against the other on the basis of sect – exactly following the footsteps and ideologies of the very terrorists against whom the coalition has been formed.
The pseudo “Islamic military alliance” has been formed to fight terrorism. The coalition consists of 34 countries, aside from Saudi Arabia, include Jordan, the UAE, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, the partially-recognized state of Palestine, the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros, Qatar, Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Yemen. In a communication from Saudis it mentions that“The countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations,” Furthermore, the coalition is also on agreement on dealing with any request from an Islamic country and as “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,”. As per the 30-year-old deputy crown prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, the campaign would “coordinate” efforts to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan, but offered few concrete indications of how military efforts might proceed.
The need for this broad base group arose as the air strikes in Syria and Yemen, failed to achieve the desired results. The mercenaries hired from Colombian, Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean sent to Yemen in October could not deliver despite of their training by Eric Prince led organization (Former-Black Water). The mercenaries were also offered $1,000 per week and instant Emeriti citizenship, if they survive. Whereas, the Somalian and Sudanese mercenaries were being paid $200 a month to fight for it, and that these two states provide a majority of such fighters for both the Saudi and Emirati governments.
So, from a macro point of view, what are the reasons of formation of this coalition?
a. Will it be the development of a United Sunni Wahhabi force to fight against the Shiites?
b. Will it be a rebirth of Al-Qaida like organization under the leadership of the Saudi deputy crown prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman crown prince Prince Salman as its new leader
c. What will be the mandate of this coalition?
d. Role of global powers!
The answer to a and b appears to be in affirmation, as no Shia majority country is a part of the coalition and with its base in Riyadh a new base has been created for the previous Saudi led organization. Talking of its mandate, the new alliance’s initiatives could potentially include troops on the ground in areas like Syria or Yemen, where the ground situation is yet to be modeled based on the requirements of the global powers. The global powers, as previously seen in the two world wars are ready to play their game for making the world divide and supporting both sides to fight each other and annihilate themselves, to gain control on the wealth and resources of nations. The US-led coalition has gathered the support of at least 65 countries. However, fewer than a dozen states are actually contributing, with American jets carrying out most of the strikes while UK and France contributing best. At the same time, Russia has been conducting its own airstrikes targeting anti-Assad forces in Syria since September 30. The strikes were launched at the formal request of Damascus. Russian jets have been carrying out sorties from Moscow’s Hmeimim Air Base in Latakia. The Russian-led operation also involves coordinating its efforts with regional governments, including those of Syria, Iran and Iraq, which is known as the RSII coalition.
The microanalysis of the situation reveals the following key points:
a. Public Relations campaign: The timing of the announcement reveals that Saudi Arabia' anti-Daesh (also known as ISIL) coalition appears to be a public relations ploy. Riyadh's coalition, is in effect "a play to the gallery – an attempt to show the Islamic world that there is unity among their ranks, and Saudi Arabia is an independent center of power, capable of acting alongside Washington, Moscow and Beijing."
b. Impact on American elections: Saudis have always been a strong ally of the Americans and the timing of announcement can affect the polls in USA. The coalition is more against the likes of US presidential candidate Donald Trump, than against the terrorist group.
c. Key Beneficiaries: There are two key players in the coalition-Saudi Arabia and Turkey; while the others have been included to paint a united front to the world. Saudi Arabia has been interested in promoting Wahhabism to other countries to counter Iran’s influence. This will be a good opportunity to plant its own people in the countries and the respective forums to increase its influence on others. Probably, the Saudis are creating a structure where they would be the main coordinator “not of the fight against terrorism but of the financial flows and economic project to strengthen their own clout.” At the same time, Turkey has its future at stake. The Kurd crises is deepening, influx of refugees is creating a burden on its economy, proximity with Syria and its border claims can provide it an opportunity to gain long term territorial and economic benefits by the end of the game.
d. Global Powers: What could be the expected gain of the global powers from this coalition? The global powers will benefit from a divide and rule approach towards Muslims. To seal their global dominance, Islam is the last road block. By pitching Sunnis block against the Shia countries will create an infighting within the Muslim countries. The beneficiary would only be the anti-Islamic forces.
The coalition of Islamic forces formed by Saudis is a Pseudo Muslim coalition, formed to seal the Islamic divide. Saudi-Wahabi backed Sunni countries are brought under a platform to fight against the Shias. The Saudis are playing the same game when they sided with the Britishers to break-up the Ottoman Empire. Is Turkey a part of the coalition to regain its lost pride or just a pawn like other countries in the coalition? Although, Pakistan has accepted to be a part of the coalition by virtue of arms twisting and financing from the Saudis, but Pakistan is a country created on the name of Islam. Its parliament recently took a bold step when it refused to provide ground troops in Yemen. Time has come again for Pakistan to reconsider its decision and bring sanity and unity among the cadre of Muslim nations. Opting out of the coalition and creating a neutral group with the like-minded, could give it leverage for long term gains.
The consequences of the Saudi led coalition will be grave for Muslims and may fill more graves of Muslims than the number remaining above the ground.
Dr. Minhaj A. Qidwai is a Marketing, Management, and Education consultant. He can be reached at email@example.com