To seize regional leadership, Saudi Arabia has mooted a military alliance of Arab world, NATO member Turkey and several African and Asian countries on the lines of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to tackle terrorism.
“Islamic military alliance” is not targeted against any particular country but aimed at tackling Islamic State terror group. The move allows the kingdom, which follows a deeply conservative interpretation of Islam, to cast itself as a leader in the fight against extremism.
Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to lead as well as prepare the framework for the proposed Islamic military alliance comsisting of 34 Muslim-majority nations as members.
The Shiite-led countries of Iran and Iraq, as well as Syria, whose government is backed by Tehran are not the members of Saudi Arabia proposed alliance.
Now, the 34-member bloc is primarily intended to present a unified front against extremists — or to also serve as a Sunni deterrent to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif had travelled to Saudi Arabia to witness the three-day ‘North Thunder’ military exercise in which forces of 21 Muslim nations took part.
Riyadh supports rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad and has been leading an Arab coalition against Iran-supported Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen since March.