According to Washington Post analysis, the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen are tantamount to war crimes. A few months after commencing this war, Saudi Arabia announced launching of the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) for the united fight of Muslim nations against terrorism.
The IMCTC secretariat is located in the Saudi capital. Currently, 41 countries, including Bangladesh, are members of this alliance.
Despite joining the alliance at the beginning, Bangladesh has not appointed any representative to the IMCTC secretariat so far. Four officials, including two military officers, a diplomat and a police officer, are supposed to be appointed to the IMCTC Secretariat from the member nations.
According to diplomatic sources, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, during his Dhaka visit in March, requested his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen to send a full delegation to the IMCTC. The issue was one of the priorities of his short trip to Bangladesh.
Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman heads the alliance, which is supported by the United States, United Kingdom and France. Representatives of 27 member nations, including Lebanon, are working at the IMCTC secretariat while some 14 nations refrained from appointing representatives there.
According to diplomatic sources, Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen met the IMCTC executive in a lunch meeting at state guest house Padma last Tuesday where both sides discussed the issue of mutual cooperation in combating terrorism.
Foreign Secretary (East) Mashfee Binte Shams told Prothom Alo that Bangladesh has already joined the alliance. Its secretary general during his Dhaka trip discussed the alliance activities and highlighted the importance of Bangladesh's active participation.
The IMCTC website says regarding its secretary general’s Dhaka trip that he had discussed the issue with Bangladesh’s foreign secretary, Bangladesh Army’s chief of general staff Lt Gen Ataul Hakim Sarwar Hasan, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed and other senior army officers. The latest counter-terrorism situation and counter-terrorism measures of IMCTC were also among the issues the both sides discussed.
Maj Gen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Moghedi highlighted the importance of Bangladesh's role as a member country of the alliance during discussions with the concerned officials in Dhaka.
According to him, Bangladesh has extensive experience and success in combating terrorism and violent militancy. The country can play an active role in the activities and policy-making of the alliance by exchanging its experiences with the member countries.
The Saudi-led military alliance has four main goals, including intellectual and awareness campaigns against the ideology of terrorist organisations as well as promoting the true and tolerant ideology of Islam, taking effective steps to prevent the financing of terrorism, coordinated military aid to defeat armed terrorist groups, and relief assistance to alleviate the plight of people in the member nations.