Arab League to join war against ISIS
Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo have agreed to pool their resources and join the fight against Islamic State.
The resolution passed at the end of the meeting hinted at some kind of League military action and tacitly supported US and Iraqi efforts to combat ISIS.
The Arab League also endorsed in the closing statement of its meeting in Cairo a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last month calling on member states to "act to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and other support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and Syria."
Baghdad had earlier submitted a draft resolution endorsing its own efforts to confront militants who have seized large areas for a cross-border caliphate and to condemn ISIS' actions as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Diplomatic sources said before the meeting that Arab foreign ministers were set to endorse a U.S. aerial campaign against the group and Egypt's official Mena news agency said the ministers would agree to coordinate with the United States.
The final text did not directly endorse either the Iraqi or U.S. campaign against ISIS, but diplomatic sources said the wording clearly offered Arab cooperation to U.S. and Iraqi efforts and could be read as a tacit agreement to back Washington's campaign against the group.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told the session that the rise of the group in Iraq challenged not merely the authority of the state but "its very existence and the existence of other states" and called for a decisive resolution to confront terrorism militarily, politically, economically and culturally.
Arabi suggested that military action could take place under the umbrella of an Arab League joint defense pact.
It's amazing how the prospect of being hanged - or beheaded - concentrates the mind wonderfully.
In truth, few Arab states would be able to contribute anything significant to a military campaign against ISIS. Egypt has a large, modern army and the Gulf states - some of which helped create ISIS in the first place - have modern air forces courtesy of the US. Algeria is also capable of helping militarily, although they have their hands full with their own terrorist problem, fighting off a growing al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), among other extremist groups.
Of course, any support would be welcome, but realistically, outside of Egypt, few Arab states would be willing to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria.