Riyadh wants the active presence of Bangladesh in the Saudi-led military alliance. The Acting Secretary General of the alliance urged to send a full delegation of Bangladesh to this alliance of 41 countries. He thinks that the successful experience of Bangladesh in fighting terrorism should be shared with the member countries.
According to diplomatic sources, during the visit of Major General Mohammad bin Saeed Al-Moghdi, the Acting Secretary General of the alliance to Dhaka, the matter of Riyadh's interest came up in discussions with the foreign secretary and related persons. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, he visited Bangladesh for the first time as the chief executive of the alliance.
In March 2015, the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen began to suppress the Houthi rebels. Peace has not yet returned to the country. More than 1.5 million people have been killed in the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen, according to The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a war data collection and provider. According to the analysis of the Washington Post, the US-based media, the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen are war crimes. A few months after the start of this war, in December 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) for the united fight of Muslim countries against terrorism. The Secretariat of the Saudi-led coalition is located in Riyadh. Currently, 41 countries including Bangladesh are members of this alliance.
Bangladesh joined the alliance at the beginning but has not sent any representative to the secretariat in Riyadh so far. Four officials from Bangladesh are supposed to work in the IMCTC Secretariat. Among these officials are two military officers, a diplomat, and a police officer.
According to diplomatic sources, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud requested Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen to send a full delegation of Bangladesh to IMCTC during his visit to Bangladesh last March. This was one of the priorities of the Saudi foreign minister during the short visit.
Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is the head of that alliance. The United States, United Kingdom, and France are the supporting countries of that alliance. Representatives of 27 member countries of the Alliance, including Lebanon, are working at the IMCTC Secretariat in Riyadh. Representatives of 14 countries including Bangladesh did not join the secretariat.
According to diplomatic sources, Foreign Secretary Masood bin Momen met with the Acting Secretary General of IMCTC in a lunch meeting last Tuesday. In the meeting at the Rashtriya Guest House Padma, mutual cooperation was discussed to achieve the goal of combating terrorism.
When asked, Foreign Ministry Secretary (East) Mashfi Binte Shams told Prothom Alo that Bangladesh has already joined the alliance. Acting Secretary General of IMCTC spoke about the Alliance's activities. He also highlighted the importance of Bangladesh's active participation in the alliance.
According to the IMCTC website regarding the visit of the Secretary-General to Bangladesh, Major General Al-Moghdi discussed with Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, Bangladesh Army Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lieutenant General Ataul Hakim Sarwar Hasan, Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed, and other senior army officers. The latest counter-terrorism situation and counter-terrorism measures of IMCTC were discussed between them.
Major General Al-Modi highlighted the importance of Bangladesh's role as a member country of the alliance in discussions with the concerned persons in Dhaka. According to him, Bangladesh has extensive experience and success in combating terrorism and violent extremism. In this context, in addition to sending a full delegation to Riyadh, it can play an active role in the activities and policy-making of the alliance by exchanging its experiences with the member countries in combating terrorism and violent extremism.
The Saudi-led military alliance has four main goals. These include intellectual and awareness campaigns against the ideology of terrorist organizations as well as promoting the true and tolerant ideology of Islam. Taking effective steps to stop the financing of terrorism. Coordinated military and relief assistance to member states to defeat armed terrorist groups and alleviate the plight of local populations.