Arabian Gulf countries, apart from using their bases for coalition forces to conduct military action against Islamic State militants, will play a major role in the fight against the group by cutting its terrorist financing and presenting a counter narrative to Islamic State leaders.
The Jeddah Communique Coalition, formed to battle Islamic State militants, has been growing, however, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders are remaining cautious of the Obama administration’s leadership in the issue.
Members of the overall coalition, which includes the GCC, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, the US, France and Britain, agreed to do their share in the comprehensive fight against the Islamic State.
The GCC will serve as the base of operations against militants with military campaigns being coordinated from bases in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates Kuwait and Bahrain. However, Saudi Arabia might be the only regional state participating in direct military involvement, said Theodore Karasik, director of Research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.
“They will be involved in not so much military operations, but [in] other operations, including information warfare, plus shutting down the funding streams that are coming from Kuwait, perhaps Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi,” Karasik said.
“Saudi Arabia is the only country doing anything militarily, per se, with the establishment of training camps for 10,000 Syrian opposition forces in Saudi Arabia,” he added. “The question is how will they vet the people that they bring together and how long will it take? Training programs like this normally take 9 to 12 months.”
Information Warfare Operations
Karasik said the role gulf states will play will be based on their avoidance of direct military action, but focused more on the information campaigns, cutting the funding pipelines and in humanitarian support.