“As threats in the Middle East grow, there’s a pressing need in the region, Egypt’s President said Sunday. “The need for a unified Arab force is growing and becoming more pressing every day,” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a televised address, noting that Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have offered to send troops as Egypt steps up its efforts to battle ISIS in neighboring Libya………”
Also sprach Field Marshal Al Sisi, elected president of Egypt by almost 98% of the vote last year.
They are now talking about a unified Arab force to fight the murderous jihadis of ISIS from Libya to Syria and Iraq. And possibly fight ‘others’ after that. From Arab politicians to Western media pundits and retired generals and even former CIA agents. Everybody is suddenly a strategist: a Napoleon and a Caesar.
There has never been an effective unified Arab force in modern times. There is a joint Gulf GCC force called the Peninsula Shield that was supposed to be a joint “defense” force against external threats. It failed its only chance to defend when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, by not showing up. The only ‘operation’ on its resume has been to intervene in Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy uprising there during the Arab Spring of 2011. This is typical of Arab armed forces: their priority is protection of the ruling order against internal unrest. We have seen this across the board, from Libya to Egypt to Syria and Bahrain and Yemen.
A joint Arab force to fight the Caliphate of IS? With actual casualties and body bags? Unlikely that the Arab countries can sustain the needed human costs. Besides the hesitation to enter, say, Syria and become sitting ducks between the two sides, the Jihadis and the Syrian army and its allies. Just imagine humorless Jordanian and United Arab Emirates troops facing two formidable opponents in a two-front war: skilled experienced and suicidal Wahhabi Jihadists and Syrian army veterans plus Hezbollah. The UAE, with barely 1 million citizens, reportedly has an imported foreign mercenary force for its own internal security. Just imagining the Emirates in such a battle merits a resounding WTF plus an LOL (and possibly an Oscar for science fiction).
The first battle might be the last one, a Waterloo. Besides, a unified Arab military force would be the worst thing to happen to the Arab peoples now. It will only lead to unified repression: one force with one strategy and one deadly force to keep the repression and the oppression going. Exactly what happened in Bahrain.
I suspect the push is more from the West, mainly from some hawks in the US. It makes sense to have an Arab force in order to “legitimize” action and make it politically acceptable at home, or so they think. The real action would be by NATO powers, a la Libya 2011. Some of the Arab princes and potentates are no doubt thinking of a post-ISIS phase, when they can ‘clean house’ in Syria and maybe in Lebanon. They have allies over here as well for that endeavor.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum