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Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC)

By Antonino Occhiuto

The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), was established in 2015 as a result of a Saudi-Gulf initiative. The founding members of the alliance are: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar (1) Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, United Arab Emirates. Afghanistan and Oman joined in 2016. The alliance is a response to criticism, that Arab states are not doing enough to fight Daesh (ISIS) and to overrun internal radicalisation. The IMCTC aims to build a unified, pan- Islamic front against  terrorism by providing an integrated platform for members to propose, debate, and collaborate on the execution of counter terrorism solutions in four domains: Ideology, Communications, Counter Terrorist Financing, and Military.


Since its founding the IMCTC specifically targets jihadi ideology, recruitment, military capabilities and the financing of terrorist groups. The focus on ideology is a direct reflection of Gulf efforts to de-radicalise the region and to address the impact of extremist preachers. The impacts of the dissemination of violent extremist ideology have been significant and range from encouraging a record number of people to fight for jihadist causes, to the proliferation of terrorist attacks in the region. In turn, it was concluded that only a strong focus against extremist preachers, turn back the clock on radicalisation.


The IMCTC increasingly focuses on the communications strategies of terrorist recruiters. Due to the safe-havens in Iraq and Syria becoming increasingly less attractive to potential Daesh recruits, the terrorist propaganda increasingly encourages foreign fighters not to travel but to commit atrocities in their states. The coalition is preparing for the return of terrorist cells from these war zones. As such, the IMCTC has instituted a protocol for the training of the security forces of its members involving joint planning, cross training and exercises in urban, rural conditions in hostile environments. The IMCTC also aims to tackle financial support for terrorists through the Counter Terrorism Financing Center. This center aims to strengthen the mechanisms of cooperation and to enhance the capabilities of coalition countries regarding the methods of countering terrorism financing.