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Is Saudi Arabia building an 'Islamic NATO?'

Frustrated with weak efforts from the US-led international community, Saudi Arabia has proposed an Islamic coalition in the hopes of defeating terrorism.
Saudi soldiers march during Abdullah's Sword military drill in Hafar Al-Batin, near the border with Kuwait April 29, 2014.  REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: MILITARY) - RTR3N4CO

In Riyadh, shortly after midnight on Dec. 14, Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammed bin Salman surprised the world when he held a press conference — his first — in which he announced the formation of a new Islamic military coalition against terrorism. Predicated on the premise that Muslims have suffered more from terrorism than any other group, Mohammed argued that Islamic countries needed to transform the unilateral counterterrorism campaigns currently being carried out by more than 50 countries around the world into a collective effort to vanquish this “disease.”

While the timing of the announcement might lead some in the West to assume that it was in response to increasing calls from the international community — and especially the United States — for Islamic countries to "do more" in the fight against the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State (IS), Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries may have a different rationale.

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