ISIS threatens Saudi Arabia over new Islamic coalition

Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holding a press conference on Dec 14, 2015.
Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holding a press conference on Dec 14, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

DOHA • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has threatened to attack Saudi Arabia for "colluding with crusaders" after the kingdom said it had established a 34-state Islamic military coalition to target the militants.

In a weekly publication documenting its military activities, the terrorist group described as "morons and fools" the 34 members of the coalition that Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said will be headquartered in Riyadh to coordinate mutual anti-terrorism assistance across the Islamic world.

"With permission from Allah, this alliance will be the beginning of the collapse of the governments of the oppressive tyrants in the lands of Islam," said an article entitled "Mohammed bin Salman's alliance of surprised allies".

Confusion over the coalition's role, even among its members, has cast doubt on an initiative widely seen as an effort by Saudi Arabia to solidify its claim to leadership of the Sunni world against Shi'ite Iran.

Another article criticised the participation of several Syrian rebel groups in a recent meeting in Riyadh that it said proved they were "disbelievers".

Saudi Arabia has been hit by a spate of deadly shootings and bomb attacks this year, many of them laid at the door of ISIS.

The terrorist group is bitterly opposed to Gulf Arab rulers and is seen as trying to stir up sectarian confrontation on the Arabian peninsula to bring about the overthrow of the ruling dynasties.

The organisation has urged young Saudi Sunnis to attack targets including Shi'ites.

Malaysia and Indonesia have been named as part of the 34-state Saudi-led coalition, with Jakarta wanting more details of what the military aspects of the alliance entail.

"The government is still observing and waiting to see the modalities of the military coalition formed by Saudi Arabia," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told The Jakarta Post last week.

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said last week that he had given his nod to joining an Islamic grouping against ISIS and would visit Saudi Arabia soon to get more details.

"This visit will not be based on military aspects but more on discussions on how to face the threats posed by Islamic State militants," he told a press conference.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Tunisia warned its citizens to avoid a major shopping centre, the Tunisia Mall in the Berges du Lac area in the capital Tunis, yesterday because of a reported threat of a potential militant attack there.

Tunisia is under a state of emergency following a suicide bomb attack on a presidential guard bus in Tunis last month. That followed two major militant gun attacks on a Tunis museum and a beach hotel targeting foreign tourists.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2015, with the headline 'ISIS threatens Saudi Arabia over new Islamic coalition'. Print Edition | Subscribe