Officials in Pakistan have expressed their surprise at being included in the 34-country military alliance announced by Saudi Arabia. The purpose of the coalition of Islamic nations is to combat extremism, focusing on Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. It appears that some nations, including Pakistan, were not properly informed of Saudi Arabia’s plan to have them join the allegiance.
According to the Dawn newspaper, Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry was surprised by the announcement and had to ask the Pakistani ambassador in Riyadh for clarification. The country’s foreign office has reportedly not yet decided whether it wants to join, and is awaiting further details.
Saudi Arabia plans to establish an operations center in Riyadh and use the coalition to focus on extremist groups regardless of their doctrine. Rivals to the Saudis—Syria, Iraq and Iran—were not included in the list of countries.
Reports also suggest that Indonesian and Malaysian officials were also blindsided by the move.
Indonesia’s foreign ministry announced that it was not yet sure if it wanted to join, while Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that he received a phone call from the Saudi defense minister just two days prior.
Meanwhile, in true Lebanese fashion, it is reported that the country’s foreign ministry and prime minister could not agree on whether they had indeed decided to join. The foreign ministry was quoted by Lebanon’s Daily Star as saying it had no idea that Saudi was creating the coalition, while an earlier statement by Prime Minister Tammam Salam suggested the country was in the know.
So things have gotten off to a good start.
The Saudi coalition seems to have been put together via junk mail. Four countries have already clicked the link to unsubscribe.— Derek Payne (@mrderekpayne) December 16, 2015
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