Is Saudi Anti-Terror Coalition Created to Challenge Iran in Syria?

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The Saudi-led ‘Islamic Antiterrorist Coalition’ was formed in response to the Iranian operation against ISIL terrorists in Syria, and Algiers has no plans to join in, an Algerian political analyst said on Saturday.

“The many countries joining the Saudi-led coalition, which supported the terrorists in Algeria during the 1970s, never helped us fight the terrorists on our soil… The new coalition has a pronounced Sunni-tilt and came in response to Russia’s and Iran’s role in Syria,” Zine al-Abidine Bouazza told Sputnik.

“They do not differentiate between terrorist groups and popular resistance movements and the coalition essentially is not aimed against Daesh (ISIL),” he added.

Zine al-Abidine Bouazza also said that Algeria had refused to join the “Islamic(?) Coalition” primarily because its goals are at variance with the country’s constitution, which bars the use of the Algerian military and security forces in overseas operations.

Saudi Arabia has formed a coalition of 34 mainly Muslim countries — including powers such as Egypt and Turkey — to coordinate a fight against “terrorist organizations”.

In an earlier press statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency, officials said the group would be led by Saudi Arabia, which would host a “joint operations center to coordinate” efforts.

Besides the 34 Muslim nations, Riyadh said more than 10 other countries expressed their support for the new bloc, while several so-called member states, including Pakistan and Lebanon, have already objected that they have never been informed of their inclusion in any such grouping. Islamabad even summoned Riyadh’s envoy in protest at the inclusion of its name in the list.

Absent from the list was predominantly islamic Iran—the kingdom’s main rival for leadership in the Muslim world — as well as Shiite-led Iraq and Syria.

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