Government officials representing 41 Muslim countries convened in Saudi Arabia last Sunday for the first Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
At the conference, the crown prince vowed to “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the Earth.”
“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries … with no coordination” among national authorities, said Salman. “This ends today, with this alliance.”
The alliance categorizes itself as a “pan-Islamic unified front” and was initiated with the crown prince’s backing in 2015.
The group is predominantly comprised of Sunni states. It excludes Syria, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival, the Shi’a power of Iran.
Qatar, which was originally included in the alliance, was not invited due to its dispute with Arab states over Doha’s sponsorship of terrorism and cooperation with Iran.
Saudi Lt. Gen. Abdulelah al-Saleh denied that the aim of the alliance is to create a Sunni bloc to counter Iran.
“The enemy is terrorism. It’s not sects or religions or races, its terrorism,” said Saleh.