Duplication and ambiguity: On the new Islamic anti-terror coalition

Duplication and ambiguity: On the new Islamic anti-terror coalition
The Islamic anti-terror coalition was launched recently but will it face the same fate of other grand Arab projects that have yet to see the light, asks Abdelnour ben Antar
2 min read
20 Dec, 2015

There have been a succession of projects in the Arab world that are either stillborn or that are quickly aborted, often by those who proposed them.

Of these we address two today: The Joint Arab Force and the recent Islamic Anti-terror Coalition.

In truth, both projects have clear religious undertones, created to intervene in Arab countries for sectarian reasons but using political pretexts. 

Not long after the Joint Arab Force was - unofficially - mourned, Saudi Arabia proposed another grandiose project, that went beyond the Arab world to cover the Islamic world.

First of all, this coalition duplicates what already exists, since many of its supposed members are already members of the anti-IS international coalition.

Secondly, the "Islamic" label of the coalition is odd; indeed, the countries that proposed have long rejected any link between Islam and terrorism, and yet, they have now launched an initiative that officially combined the two words.

Beyond nomenclature

Beyond the link this naming alludes to between Islam and terrorism, there is something else problematic about the identity chosen for this coalition.

In a way, the linkage implies that the Arab regimes behind the initiative are admitting that their interpretation of Islam has created a favourable climate for extremism.

It suffices to analyse the religious discourse used in government-sponsored television channels in the Arab countries to establish the regimes' responsibility in fomenting radicalism and intolerance.

Therefore, these regimes are part of the problem and not part of the solution to terrorism.

Sectarian policies

The sectarian interventions led by members of this newfound coalition have a destabilising effect, and again help associate Islam to terrorism not to mention fuelling terrorism.

Today, the exploitation of religion in conflicts has reached unprecedented levels since decolonisation. 

The coalition in question comprises a chaotic mixture of nations that has different interests and different attitudes on the question of terrorism. Some are not concerned by terror to begin with, and seem to have been added just to beef up the list of the "willing".

More importantly, however, some of the members are known to support terrorist groups in one way or another.

Therefore, they are not in the coalition for the purpose of fighting terrorism.

Meanwhile, some of the other supposed members, such as Libya, Yemen and Somalia, are themselves ravaged by conflict, and cannot offer any real value to the coalition save for legitimising intervention in their territories. 

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.