Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition

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Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition
التحالف الإسلامي العسكري لمحاربة الإرهاب
FormationDecember 15, 2015; 8 years ago (2015-12-15)
TypeMilitary alliance
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersRiyadh, Saudi Arabia
Muslim world
Official language
Arabic, English, French
Secretary-General of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition
Major General Mohammad bin Saeed Al-Moghedi
Military-Commander in the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition
General Raheel Shareef[1]

The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) is an intergovernmental counter-terrorist military alliance between 41 member states in the Muslim world, united around the war against the Islamic State and other counter-terrorist activities.[2][3] Its creation was first announced by Saudi Arabian defence minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, on 15 December 2015.[4][5] The alliance was to have a joint operations center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[6]

When the coalition was announced there were 34 members. Additional countries joined and the number of members reached 41 when Kenya joined on 1 September 2022.[7] On 6 January 2017, the Former Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan General Raheel Sharif was named the IMCTC's first commander-in-chief.[8][9] Most of its participants are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

History and objectives[edit]

IMCTC has stated that its primary objective is to protect Muslim countries from all terrorist groups and terrorist organizations irrespective of their sect and name.[10][11][12] The IMCTC affirmed that it would operate in line with the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) provisions on terrorism.[13]

At the press conference to launch the IMCTC, Mohammad bin Salman said it would "coordinate" efforts to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. He said, "There will be international coordination with major powers and international organisations ... in terms of operations in Syria and Iraq."[14]

The alliance does not include any countries with Shia-dominated governments, such as Iran, Iraq and Syria.[15] According to a Euronews report, some analysts see formation of the alliance as part of Saudi Arabian efforts to take the leading role in the Middle East and the Muslim world, in rivalry with Iran.[16] Due to the dominance of the alliance by states having majority Sunni Muslim populations, it has been called "a sectarian coalition" by Hakeem Azameli, a member of the Security and Defense Commission in the Iraqi parliament.[17][16][15]

However, Oman, an Ibadi-dominant country has joined the alliance. Lebanon has also supported the alliance.[18] Other countries who are part of the alliance or support it that have cordial or friendly relations with Iran include Bangladesh, Kuwait, Libya, and Pakistan.[citation needed]

In March 2016, it was reported that Saudi Arabia had asked the then Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif, to become commander-in-chief of the ICMTC once he had retired from the Pakistan Army at the end of 2016.[19]


Saudi Arabia's original announcement of the alliance on 15 December 2015 listed 34 countries as participants,[2] each also a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and forming about 60% of all OIC member states. As of September 2022, there are 41 member countries with the joining of Kenya on 1 September 2022.

Country Membership announcement Military roleα Supporter References
 Bahrain Original Yes Yes [20]
 Bangladesh Original Yes Yes [6][21][22]
 Benin Original
 Burkina Faso
 Chad Original Yes Yes
 Comoros Original
 Cote d'Ivoire Original
 Djibouti Original
 Egypt Original Yes Yes [6]
 Gabon Original
 Guinea Original
 Jordan Original Yes Yes [6]
 Kenya 1 September 2022 Yes Yes [23]
 Kuwait Original Yes Yes
 Lebanon Original Yes
 Libya Original Yes Yes [17]
 Malaysia Original Yes Yes [24]
 Maldives Original Yes Yes
 Mali Original
 Mauritania Original Yes Yes
 Morocco Original Yes Yes
 Niger Original Yes Yes
 Nigeria Original Yes Yes [17]
 Oman 28 December 2016 Yes Yes [7][25]
 Pakistan Original Yes Yes [26][27][28]
 Palestine Original
 Qatar Original
 Saudi Arabia Original Yes Yes [29][30][14]
 Senegal Original Yes
 Sierra Leone Original
 Somalia Original Yes Yes
 Sudan Original Yes Yes
 Togo Original
 Tunisia Original Yes Yes
 Turkey Original Yes Yes [17]
 Uganda [31]
 United Arab Emirates Original Yes Yes [31]
 Yemen (PLCTooltip Presidential Leadership Council) Original Yes Yes
These countries have offered to provide military assistance if needed.

Prospective additional members[edit]

At the time of the original announcement, more than ten other Islamic countries, including Indonesia (the world's largest Muslim populated nation), had expressed their support for the alliance,[2] and Azerbaijan was discussing joining the alliance.[32][33][34] In 2018, however, former deputy defense minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin [id] remarked that Indonesia's non-alignment barred the country from joining a military alliance, adding that Vice President Jusuf Kalla had disagreed with Indonesia's accession.[35]

By January 2017, Azerbaijan said that joining was "not on the agenda".[36] Tajikistan's ambassador to Saudi Arabia confirmed that Tajikistan was seriously studying the possibility of joining.[37][38]


Force commander Nationality Start of tenure End of tenure
General Raheel Shareef  Pakistan 6 January 2017 Incumbent [39][40]


  •  Bangladesh: Bangladesh was one of the early members to join the alliance doing so on 15 December 2015. The country confirmed its membership in a joint statement by the founder nations that stated "a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations whatever their sect and name which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent."[41][42][43] However Bangladesh ruled out any military support.[44]
  •  China: China has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the alliance to fighting terrorism and appreciated Saudi efforts to create alliance.[45]
  •  Egypt: Egypt's Al-Azhar University called the alliance's formation "historic."[46]
  •  Germany: Germany's defense minister Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the alliance against terrorism but also stressed that it should be a part of the Vienna process involving all countries fighting against IS like the U.S., Europe, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, but also including Iran and China.[47]
  •  Malaysia: Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein expressed support for the alliance, but ruled out any military support from Malaysia.[24]
  •  Pakistan: After initial ambiguity Pakistan welcomed the initiative; its government confirmed its participation and stated that the country is waiting for further details in order to decide the extent of its participation in the different activities of the alliance.[27]
  •  Turkey: Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called it the "best response to those who are trying to associate terror and Islam".
  •  United States: The new alliance has been welcomed by the United States, with then U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter saying, "We look forward to learning more about what Saudi Arabia has in mind in terms of this coalition. But in general it appears it is very much in line with something we've been urging for quite some time, which is greater involvement in the campaign to combat ISIL by Sunni Arab countries.[5][14]
  • Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order: Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri the leader of the Naqshbandi Army released a statement in 2016 praising the alliance and calling on what he called Mujahideen to fight Shia militias in Iraq backed by Iran, while also saying "We consider everything that is happening in Iraq from Iran, its agents, militias, and its security apparatus, is the responsibility of the United States". He added: "If it [U.S.] did not move to save Iraq and its people from Iran's hegemony, control and occupation, and to stop bloodshed, destruction, burning and the changing demographic, then Iraqi people should resist [the occupation]."[48]


  1. ^ "Military Commander". Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
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  3. ^ "Islamic military coalition holds first meeting in Riyadh". Gulf News. 27 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Saudi Arabia Unveils 34-Country 'Islamic Military Alliance'". NBC News. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
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  48. ^ "Saddam's top aide appears, criticizes US on Iran". 7 April 2016.

External links[edit]