British daily, The Guardian, said that many questions hang over Saudi’s motives behind its announcement to lead a a 34-nation coalition against terrorism, describing the questions as “legitimate”.
In its Friday’s editorial, The Guardian said there is some overlap between the Saudi-led anti-terror alliance and the US-led coalition, which has been operating for more than one year. Despite this overlap, the Gulf Kingdom stresses the “Islamic character” of its alliance with a “joint operational center” located in Riyadh, the daily said.
“How this new coalition will contribute to pushing Isis out of its heartland in Raqqa remains to be seen. What can it achieve militarily that the current US-led coalition cannot?” The Guardian wondered.
It said that, doubts about Riyadh’s motives are legitimate, noting that Saudi is trying to salvage its international image, “severely dented by a dismal human rights record and decades of propounding a radical Sunni ideology that arguably reaches its twisted apogee in ISIL itself.”
Meanwhile, the daily pointed out that the Saudi announcement came the day before Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who has been sentenced to prison and flogging for criticizing religious figures, was awarded the European Sakharov prize for freedom of thought.
“It may be no coincidence,” it said referring to Badawi’s reward and the alliance announcement.
The daily went on to say that the fight against ISIL is fronted by a nation that itself beheads in streets.
“Some will worry that the fight against ISIL is to be fronted by a nation that itself beheads at home, and exports dubious ideas abroad, even if Saudi Arabia does not kill and maim on European streets in the way that ISIL does.”
The Saudi initiative does not answer the key question about what ground troops will be available, The Guardian said.
“But the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has said “nothing is off the table”. If words are matched with deeds, the new Saudi-led alliance could lend some missing shape to a regionally rooted strategy.”
“Defeating Isis cannot, after all, be a solely western effort. It must involve all states and societies – not least because its most numerous victims are Muslim,” the daily concluded its editorial.