|King Salman of Saudi Arabia|
Coincidentally, the Gambian dictator announced a few days ago that he has unilaterally decided to declare his country an Islamic Republic.
Equally of interest to Gambian watchers is the presence of Gambia's Ambassador to Saudi in the last week leading to Jammeh's announcement of the Islamic Republic and before Saudi's cabinet meeting that decided on the membership of the military coalition.
The formation of a 35-nation Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism was announced in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, according to Saudi Press Agency.
According to Saudi's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the Islamic military coalition will "target all terrorist organizations in the Islamic world."
Every country in the coalition will participate "according to its capabilities and will not fight only Daesh, but any terrorist group" according to the Defense Minister.
The omission of The Gambia with an 80% Muslim population whose dictator has recently declared The Gambia an Islamic Republic while countries like Sierra Leone - with 60% Muslim population - and Benin, Niger and Uganda with lesser Muslim population are part of the 35-country coalition has raised eyebrows. Senegal, of course, is part and parcel of the coalition and it's expected to play a central role in the African contingent.
The United States has been openly critical of the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, for its apparent lack of military commitment to helping the US and the Western coalition in fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group based in Iraq and Syria. It appears that the formation of the Saudi-led 35-nation Islamic military coalition is in response to the criticism.
The countries that have signed up to join the coalition are : Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UEA, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, Comoros, Qatar, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Yemen and Palestine.