This was the large- caps subheading of a November 24 full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal with the even more prominent large-caps headline, “ALLIED AGAINST TERRORISM.” It was the proclamation of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition” (IMCTC).
The ad went on to say, “Until now, counter-terrorism efforts have been fragmented, with nations and groups often taking isolated initiatives against the growing threat of terror. From November 26th, international counter-terrorism efforts will take a new dimension. Forty-one Muslim countries are coming together in Riyadh [the capital of Saudi Arabia] to launch a global, multi-disciplinary strategy that aims to tackle terrorism at its deepest roots. Under the banner of the IMCTC, these nations will forge an unprecedented and powerful coalition against terror—a coalition that will source sustainable counter-terrorism initiatives in the four strategic domains of Ideology, Communications, Counter Terrorist Financing, as well as Military, to build a cohesive, united front against terror.”
This inaugural IMCTC meeting will be opened by Saudi Arabia’s His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who at age 32 has been leading major reform efforts in the Kingdom and in the Islamic world.
Its website (www.IMCTC.org) lists the following countries as members: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Kingdom of Bahrain, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Brunei Darussalam, Republic of Thad, Union of the Comoros, Republic of Còte d’Ivoire, Republic of Dijbouti, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, State of Kuwait, Republic of Lebanon, State of Libya, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Mali, Islamic republic of Mauritania, Kingdom of Morocco, Malaysia, Republic of Niger, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sultanate of Oman, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, State of Palestine, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Sierra Leone, Republic of Somalia, Republic of Senegal, Republic of Sudan, Republic of Togo, Republic of Tunisia, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Republic of Yemen.
Notable absentees from this list (with their Muslim populations) are Indonesia (202,867,000). India (160,945,000), Iran (73,777,000) and Algeria (34,1999,000).
This coalition was started in December 2015 by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and in March 2016 chiefs of staff from Islamic countries met in Riyadh and affirmed “their determination to intensify efforts in fighting terrorism through joint work according to their capabilities, based on the desire of each member country to participate in operations or programs within the IMCTC framework as per its policies and procedures, and without compromising the sovereignty of the Coalition member countries.” This group of chiefs of staff adopted the following as its strategic objectives:
- “Strengthen the contribution of Islamic countries towards global security and peace, and complementing international counter terrorism efforts.
- Reinforce solidarity and collaboration among coalition member countries to present a unified front against terrorist organizations and their attempts to destabilize security and distort the image of Islam and Muslims.
- Counter radical ideology in Coalition member countries through strategic communication campaigns to refute the radical and extremist narratives and propaganda.
- Reaffirm the moderate values of Islam and its principles of peace, tolerance and compassion.
- Combat terrorism financing in collaboration with Coalition member countries and international [counter-terrorism] authorities, to promote compliance with international agreements and advance legal, regulatory, and operational frameworks.
- Establish strategic partnerships between member countries, supporting nations and international organizations to share counter terrorism information and expertise.”
All of us will need to follow what happens at this inaugural IMCTC conference and the implementation of its objectives. It sounds like an important and positive development.
 Press Release: His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Open Inaugural Meeting of the IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council (Nov. 22, 2017); Friedman, Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Last (Nov. 23, 2017); Mohammad bin Salman, Wikipedia.