Add News     Print  
Article List
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairing GCC foreign ministers meeting in Riyadh.

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug 30, (Agencies): Gulf Arab states said Saturday they were ready to help counter advances by jihadists in Syria and Iraq, after the US called for a global coalition to fight the militants. But the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said it was awaiting details from Washington and a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Department John Kerry to discuss antijihadist cooperation.

US President Obama admitted Thursday that he did not yet have a strategy to tackle jihadists from the Islamic State, which has declared a “caliphate” in large swathes of territory it controls in Syria and Iraq. But Obama said he was developing a broad plan that would involve military, diplomatic and regional efforts to defeat the IS jihadists who have sown terror through crucifixions and gruesome beheadings. Obama said he would dispatch Kerry to the Middle East to discuss the plan with regional allies, namely in the Sunni-dominated Gulf monarchies. “We have all heard what President Obama said about a coalition and that he has asked John Kerry to travel to the region to set it up,” said Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah. “We are waiting for more details to understand what is needed... We are waiting for Kerry,” he added after chairing a GCC meeting in the Saudi city of Jeddah. A GCC statement said Gulf states are ready to act “against terrorist threats that face the region and the world”.

The foreign ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — the six GCC states — also pledged a readiness to fight “terrorist ideology which is contrary to Islam”. “We denounce vehemently the practices of those who use Islam as a pretext to kill and displace en masse Iraqis and Syrians,” Sabah said. He added that the GCC supports a UN Security Council resolution earlier this month aimed at weakening the jihadists.

The mid-August resolution called “on all member states to take national measures to suppress the flow of foreign terrorist fighters”, and threatens sanctions against anyone involved in their recruitment. Kerry, in an op-ed published Friday in the New York Times, said Washington would submit a plan to deal with the jihadists at the Security Council in September. “What’s needed to confront its nihilistic vision and genocidal agenda is a global coalition using political, humanitarian, economic, law enforcement and intelligence tools to support military force,” he said.

There is growing alarm that IS jihadists, who this month beheaded US journalist James Foley in Syria, are preparing to carry out attacks in the West. Meanwhile the Kuwaiti foreign minister said in Jeddah that the Gulf monarchies have resolved a six-month spat with GCC partner Qatar, which they had accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sheikh Sabah Khaled said differences were settled because unity was needed to face the common threat posed by the radical Sunni IS jihadists. Relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain sank to a new low in March when the three governments withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, accusing it of meddling in their affairs and supporting the Brotherhood. Sheikh Sabah Khaled said the ambassadors could return to their posts “at any time”, without giving a specific date.

His Omani counterpart, Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, earlier told reporters: “The crisis in the Gulf has been resolved.” The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that extremists could attack Europe and the US if there is not a strong international response to terrorism after the Islamic State group seized a wide territory across Iraq and Syria.

While not mentioning any terrorist groups by name, King Abdullah’s statement appeared aimed at drawing Washington and NATO forces into a wider fight against the Islamic State group and its supporters in the region. Saudi Arabia openly backs rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, but is concerned that the breakaway al-Qaeda group could also turn those very same weapons on the kingdom. “I am certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America,” he said at a reception for foreign ambassadors Friday.

Official Saudi media carried the king’s comments early Saturday. “These terrorists do not know the name of humanity and you have witnessed them severing heads and giving them to children to walk with in the street,” the king said, urging the ambassadors to relay his message directly to their heads of state. The Islamic State group has been fighting moderate rebels, other extremists and Assad’s forces in Syria for nearly three years. Iraq has faced an onslaught by the Sunni extremists and their supporters since early this year, and the country continues to be roiled by instability.

While providing arms and support to Sunni militants in Syria, Saudi Arabia has denied directly funding or backing the Islamic State group. British officials raised the country’s terror threat level Friday to “severe,” its second- highest level, because of developments in Iraq and Syria, but there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent. The White House has said it does not expect the US to bump up its terrorism threat warning level. Saudi Arabia, a major US ally in the region, has taken an increasingly active role in criticizing the Islamic State group.

Earlier this month, the country’s top cleric described the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda as Islam’s No. 1 enemy and said that Muslims have been their first victims. State-backed Saudi clerics who once openly called on citizens to fight in Syria can now face steep punishment and the kingdom has threatened to imprison its citizens who fight in Syria and Iraq. A decade ago, al-Qaeda militants launched a string of attacks in the kingdom aimed at toppling the monarchy. Saudi officials responded with a massive crackdown that saw many flee to neighboring Yemen. In the time since, the kingdom has not seen any massive attacks, though it has imprisoned suspected militants and sentenced others to death. Meanwhile Saturday, police in Iraq said a suicide bomber drove his explosivesladen car into an army checkpoint in the town of Youssifiyah, killing 11 people, including four soldiers, and wounding at least 24 people. Youssifiyah is 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Baghdad. Hours later, a roadside bomb targeting an army patrol killed two soldiers and wounded five in Latifiyah, a town 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad. Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Read By: 4735
Comments: 0

You must login to add comments ...
About Us   |   RSS   |   Contact Us   |   Feedback   |   Advertise With Us