Guess country that will lead Pakistan and other 33 countries against Terrorism.

  • Payback time for $1.5Billion.

    WHILE Foreign Office officials claimed they were ‘surprised’ by Pakistan’s inclusion in the 34-nation alliance announced by Saudi Arabia it now appears that Riyadh had received assurances of Pakistan’s participation — though it is not clear at what level.

    Pakistan has, however, sounded a cautious note regarding “the extent of its participation”. Indeed, it is best to proceed carefully, given the number of member-states and the geographical sweep of the area, in addition to the fact that the alliance seeks to bring together countries as disparate in foreign policy orientation as Nigeria, Turkey and Malaysia.

    Not included in the alliance that has both military and ‘ideological’ content as announced by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir are some of the Middle East’s key states, including Iran, Iraq and Syria, the last two ravaged by the militant Islamic State group, which — along with the ill-defined terrorism — is supposedly the pact’s target. What is missing is a common threat perception.

    The US-led military alliances formed after the Second World War had members which saw a common threat in the Soviet Union and the communist movement. In this case, the 34 member-states do not share a common perception of events in the Levant, their attitudes towards IS varying from non-active opposition to indifference — with many governments fearful of actively taking on IS.

    For Pakistan, the alliance poses many questions. Since Riyadh, according to the Saudi defence minister, will be the ‘joint operations centre’, it is not clear whether alliance members would be required to take part in military action on Syrian or Iraqi soil.

    Because President Bashar al-Assad enjoys unqualified Iranian support, besides that of Hezbollah, such an intervention will appear to have sectarian overtones which countries like Pakistan and Lebanon with large Shia minorities can ill afford.

    Similarly, while air strikes by America and some European countries are targeting IS, Russia has recently stepped up its support of the Baathist regime by also attacking other groups.

    Turkey has shown no interest in degrading IS, even when Abubakr al-Baghdadi’s hordes had reached its border by taking Kobane; Ankara is more concerned about the Kurdish militia and is involved in crisis management after Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane.

    With international powers and non-state actors working at cross purposes in the Syrian cauldron, Pakistan, like many of the other countries, would find it extremely difficult to be part of an alliance which has not stated categorically that the target is only IS.

    This is not to deny the need for all regional countries, and the Muslim world in general, to evolve a common strategy to fight the evil that is terrorism, but the way to achieve this is a gradual alignment of anti-terror policies free from any thinking that smacks of sectarianism.

    Pakistan must seek more details, especially about the kind of military role it will be required to play as a member of the alliance.

    Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter welcomed the idea of the 34– state Islamic Alliance against terrorism. During the announcement by Saudi Arabia to form this 34-state Islamic alliance Secretary Carter welcomed the initiative and said that it “appears to be very much aligned with something that we have been urging for quite some time, which is greater involvement by Sunni-Arab countries in the campaign to combat ISIL.”

    He added that a Saudi-led coalition in the region would have the ability “to promote what we know is necessary in the long run for the defeat of ISIL in Iraq and in Syria. And in the long run defeating terrorism in the region would require “replacement of their [Daesh’s] tyrannical rule with local rule that gives a decent life back to people.”

    According to the reports, Pakistan is also going to be part of this alliance. Few other countries have been affected by terrorism than Pakistan, and their sacrifices and battles against terrorism have been greatly acknowledged. If we want to put an end to Daesh, we need to have more global cooperation.

    Haroon Ahmad

    DET – U.S. Central Command

  • Watching Republican debate on Tuesday I was surprised multiple Republican candidates said if they pull out of Syria Iran will be all over the place, Shias Islam would be winning and we can't do that. Why in the world US is party in this Shia-Sunni conflict?

    Saudis came up with 34 nation Sunni alliance and Pakistan was caught by surprise on Day 1 but on 2nd day as expected they jumped on Saudi band wagon.

  • Haroon Ahmed

    Any thoughts on Shirazi's post? or are you just doing your propaganda job like your fellow agent Afshan?

  • I am pretty sure that very smart people make decisions in USA.

    But there are few questions remain unanswered.

    1. For the last thirty years, we have seen terrorist groups Al Qaida, Taliban, TTP, ISIL, Daesh, Nusra Front, etc. , all of them drive their philosophy from Saudi philosophy in justifying killing of innocent. So how one can expect decrease in terrorism in leadership of Saudi? Have Saudi changed their philosophy?

    2. Three countries, Afghanistan, Iraq send Syria, which are being targeted against terrorism are not part of this group. Is this coalition against terrorist or against those countries, How can a coalition interfere in those countries? Isn't that against what UN charter?

    3. Just recently Saudia led coalition has been accused of war crimes by Amnesty, so how can a country lead against terrorism which is accused of war crimes? See the article below.

    LONDON —

    Human rights group Amnesty International accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, claiming hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

    Amnesty International looked at 13 airstrikes carried out between May and July by the Saudi-led coalition around the northern Houthi stronghold of Sa’da.

    Amnesty's Rasha Mohamed said 100 civilians, including 59 children, were killed.

    “In one direct airstrike we looked into, and visited the site in July, there was a cluster of nine houses and there were four consecutive airstrikes that were carried out over two hours. Fifty five people were killed, 35 of which were children under the age of 11,” Mohamed said.

    Amnesty also claimed to have found the remains of cluster munitions banned under international treaties.

    FILE - A boy walks past soldiers from the Saudi-led coalition patrolling a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, Sept. 26, 2015.

    FILE - A boy walks past soldiers from the Saudi-led coalition patrolling a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, Sept. 26, 2015.

    No Saudi response

    Saudi Arabia did not respond directly to Amnesty’s accusations but has said in the past that it only targets rebel fighters, and denies using cluster bombs.

    “We are asking for all states to, first of all, suspend, and specifically the United States, their arms transfers to all members of the coalition, given that there are war crimes being committed. And two, for the international community to investigate these war crimes,” Mohamed said.

    The United Nations’ human rights body issued a report last month detailing alleged violations of international law by all sides in the conflict.

    "The report ... does not at any point accuse the coalition forces of deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, although it does catalog several specific incidents involving airstrikes which cause large numbers of civilian casualties," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    In the six months since April, the United Nations said more than 2,350 civilians have been killed in the conflict.

  • I'm surprised that many Americans have accepted this bogus argument that the real threat is Iran or Shia Islam. Iranians are sophisticated people with a rich history that dates back to thousands of years before Islam. The Suni Islam is the real threat to peace and harmony of the West.



    About a third of rebel groups in Syria - some 100,000 fighters - share the ideology of so-called Islamic State (IS), new research suggests.**

    The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, linked to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, said defeating IS militarily "would not end global jihadism".

    That would require an "intellectual and theological defeat" of its ideology.

    The Syrian conflict has killed more than 250,000 people. Millions more have been displaced.

    A Western coalition has been carrying out air strikes against IS in Syria and Iraq for more than a year.


    In September, Russian forces began air strikes against rebels in Syria, targeting "all terrorists", including IS. However, Western-backed groups are also reported to have been hit.

    UN resolution

    The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, an initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, says that Syria now hosts the largest gathering of jihadi groups in modern times.

    The report, due to be published on Monday, says the greatest danger to the international community are groups who share the IS ideology but are currently being ignored - they number about 100,000 fighters.**

    Current Western efforts to define "moderate" and "extremist" rebels are bound to fail, because the groups themselves rarely make the distinction, the centre says.**

    Men search for belongings at a site hit by missiles in the Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Dec 2015Image copyrightReuters

    Image caption

    The Syrian conflict has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced millions

    Some 60% of Syria's major rebel groups are Islamist extremists, and many of the groups share the same aims, the study finds.

    Fewer than a quarter of the rebels surveyed were not ideological, and many were willing to fight alongside extremists and would probably accept an Islamist political settlement to the civil war.

    And even if IS is defeated, dispersed fighters and other extremists could attack targets outside Syria under a rallying cry that "the West destroyed the Caliphate", the centre warns.

    The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously endorsed a peace plan for Syria, including calls for a ceasefire.

    The resolution sets out a timetable for formal talks and a unity government within six months. However, the resolution makes no mention of the future role of President Assad.

    The centre says that unless Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaves or is removed from office, the war in the country is likely to spread further.

    Western countries have called for his departure, but Russia and China say he should not be required to leave power as a precondition for peace talks.


    ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf has continued with its criticism of the federal government for joining 34-nation Saudi Arabia-led military coalition to fight against terrorism in the region.

    PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq said in a statement on Tuesday that the decision showed the level of confusion of the present government in running foreign policy of the country.

    In the recently concluded session of the National Assembly, PTI lawmakers Dr Shireen Mazari and Shafqat Mehmood had repeatedly sought response of the government over the announcement of coalition by Saudis, but to no avail. Last Tuesday, Saudi Arabia broke the news of the coalition which it said had been formed to fight the militant Islamic State group with Pakistan as one its members.

    Also read: Pakistan to question exclusion of Islamic countries from anti-terror alliance

    Referring to the policy statement on the matter made by adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz on the floor of the Senate on Monday, the PTI information secretary said, “The decision to join the coalition has surprised everybody in the country.”

    He asked: how come the government could take such an important decision in this manner. “This makes abundantly clear that the PML-N government is managing foreign affairs of the country in a complete state of confusion.”

    According to Mr Haq, by joining the coalition it seemed the government had yet again ignored serious repercussions the country would face by participating in the ongoing fighting in the Middle East.

    Reiterating his party’s stance, which most of other opposition parties share, he said the country shouldn’t militarily get involved in the region.

    The decision warranted approval from parliament, he added. “The government should have taken parliament into confidence before declaring its participation in the coalition.”

    He added that in the past the country suffered irreparable damage when governments ignored parliament in making strategic decisions of such nature, “and we just cannot afford repeat of any such event”.

    Since last week’s announce­ment by the Saudis about the 34-nation coalition, the federal government at best had sounded confused. On Mon­day, Sartaj Aziz in the Senate said that it was a broad coalition to fight against rising extremism in the region “not a formal military alliance as some have perceived.”

  • Pakistan should participate any alliance the purpose of which is to stabilize Muslim Countries, Iranian supporters are asking Pakistan to be non aligned in such deteriorating scenario, why these supporters of Iran does not ask Iran not to be a party in killing, isolating and victimizing Sunni Muslims of Syria and Iraq by their naked Sectarian, killers and cruel rulers like Asad, and Iraqi Government who by any means are more cruel than Shah of Iran and Yazeed.

  • Pakistanis should thank their parliament for not becoming part of KSA alliance against Yemen, otherwise it would have been on the receiving end of war crimes accusation of Amnesty International.


    "Human rights group Amnesty International accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, claiming hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.**


    Amnesty International looked at 13 airstrikes carried out between May and July by the Saudi-led coalition around the northern Houthi stronghold of Sa’da.


    Amnesty's Rasha Mohamed said 100 civilians, including 59 children, were killed."