Egypt’s President Calls for Arab Coalition Against ISIS
Investigative Project on Terrorism
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi wants a unified Arab front to combat ISIS terrorists.
“The need for a unified Arab force is growing and becoming more pressing every day,” said Sisi in a televised speech on Sunday.
He acknowledged that Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have offered military assistance as Egypt escalates its war with ISIS in Libya.
The Egyptian president did not elaborate on what a “united Arab force” would entail, stopping short of calling for a ground invasion. The notion of a unified Arab military force has been discussed in the past; however, immense historic distrust within Arab countries has hindered any coherent formation of such a coalition.
The United States, which leads the coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, has conducted 80 percent of the airstrikes. However, ISIS’ murderous ideology has spread beyond Iraq and Syria into other countries including Libya and Egypt, constituting a common regional threat.
Sisi’s proposition comes in context of rapid ISIS territorial advances and atrocities in recent weeks. Last week, the terrorist organization released a horrendous video reportedly showing terrorists beheading 21 Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach.
As a result, Egypt initiated a series of airstrikes targeting ISIS terrorists and bases in Libya. Egypt also continues to battle Sinai-based jihadists who are affiliated with ISIS and are committed to escalating a protracted insurgency in the Peninsula.
ISIS released new footage on Saturday allegedly displaying Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in cages on top of pickup trucks, parading down the streets of Iraq. The edited video also features images of the previous beheadings of the Egyptian Christians.
Meanwhile, reports Tuesday indicate that as many as 90 Christians have been kidnapped from Tel Tamr, a northern Syrian village.
As a grave threat to regional stability, ISIS expansion and its ongoing brutal campaign serve as an opportunity for the major Arab countries to unify and confront the radical Islamist challenge. It remains to be seen what a coherent Arab counteroffensive would look like in a regional characterized by complex divisions and overlapping cleavages.
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