Saudi-Led Sectarian Alliance to Target Minorities as Terrorists

Sputnik – Middle East

WASHINGTON, Leandra Bernstein — Saudi Arabia’s 34-nation anti-terror coalition is a sectarian formation that will likely target Islamic minorities, Organisation for Democracy and Freedom in Syria director Ribal al-Assad told Sputnik.

“In a way, they are looking to create a sectarian alliance to fight whoever they perceive today as a threat,” Assad said on Tuesday of the Saudi-led anti-terror alliance.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced the creation of the alliance that includes participation from Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan, Libya, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and a number of other nations.

According to Saudi authorities, the alliance intends to “counteract terrorism, which became a threat to the interests of the Islamic nation.”

Assad, a London-based human rights director and cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad, explained that the Saudi-led coalition will be used “to go after groups which they [coalition members] deem their enemies.”The targeting of minorities will be presented under the guise of countering Islamic extremism, he warned, adding, “This is actually very dangerous.”

“Tomorrow they will tell you any minority groups, they are our enemies, they are the terrorist groups. The Shia in this country are terrorist groups, or the Druze, or the Alawites, they are the terrorist groups,” Assad argued.

The Saudi coalition is made of largely Sunni Muslim nations and excludes participation from Iran, Shia-led Iraq and Israel. The United States and a number of other Western countries have expressed support for the coalition.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Defense stated it believes the Saudi-led coalition will contribute more substantially to the campaign against Daesh, which is also known as Daesh.

Saudi-Led Coalition Can’t Define Word ‘Terrorist’
Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front in the southern countryside of Idlib

What is the difference between terrorist groups and “moderate” rebels? Well, it all depends on who you ask about it.

“These may all differ from how they’re defined in Washington, London, Paris or Moscow,” Doyle told Spuntik.

It’s a huge problem, as shown recently by Jordan who was tasked to make a list of militant organizations, which the international community would consider terrorists operating within Syria.

Some nations consider groups, such as al-Nusra Front [the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria] to be a terrorist organization, while other countries don’t, the expert said.

“So, it’s very difficult to see how the coalition will work unless they agree on common terms of reference,” the director of the London-based CAABU advocacy group explained.

Meanwhile, Jordan has made headway in its task of listing the extremist groups operating in Syria, undertaken by the country as part of the Vienna peace talks, according to Dina Kawar, Jordan’s envoy to the UN.

The last Vienna-format meeting, held by international mediators on November 14, ended in a decision to convene the Syrian government and the opposition for peace talks by January 1, 2016, with a view to setting a six-month timeframe for Syria to form an interim unity government with an election to be held within 18 months. The ongoing Riyadh conference is set to form an opposition delegation to attend the January talks.Syria has been in a state of war since 2011. Government troops and militia loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad are fighting a number of opposition groups, as well as radical Islamist militant organizations, including the Nusra Front and Daesh, also known as ISIL/ISIS.

Palestinian Security Forces Uninformed About Engagement in Saudi Coalition

RAMALLAH (Sputnik) — The security forces of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) have not yet received official information about their engagement in the Saudi-initiated Islamic coalition against terrorism, Palestinian Security spokesman told Sputnik on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia announced that it had set up a coalition of 34 predominantly Islamic countries to counteract terrorism. Ten other Islamic countries have expressed their support for the newly-created coalition.

“Palestinian security forces is a tool for implementing the decisions, they do not decide on their own whether they would participate or not. The decision is up to the political leadership. We have not yet been informed about the participation in the coalition or the nature of the participation,” Gen. Adnan Damiri said.

Besides Saudi Arabia, the alliance includes Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Somalia, Guinea, the Palestinian National Authority, the Union of the Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Yemen.