Confusion reigns in the capitals of largely Muslim nations over Saudi Arabia’s plan, announced Tuesday, for 34 of the countries to join forces in the fight against terrorism.
While the plan has met with favorable remarks from members of the proposed new coalition, there are questions as to the extent of the cooperation. Also unclear is how deeply nations will become involved militarily — if at all.
There are also doubts about Saudi motives and the kingdom’s strong links to a puritanical form of Sunni Islam which critics say only fuel movements like the Islamic State group. Saudi Arabia is a member of a U.S.-led mostly Western coalition fighting IS, but its participation has been limited.
The Saudi Muslim alliance that was announced Tuesday is aimed at fighting terrorism in the region, according to Saudi officials, who stopped short of providing details as to how it will work.
The proposal caught U.S. and Russian officials off guard, as they found out about it mostly from media reports, according to news accounts.
“We expect that we’ll get some detailed information from the sponsors of this process,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a news conference earlier this week with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow.
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