An Arab force by ‘those who attended’

تم نشره في Sun 1 March / Mar 2015. 11:03 AM

By Ayman Safadi

The establishment of a joint Arab force to fight terrorism and other hazards that ravage the region is a need that Arabs will not be able to protect themselves against the common security threats without. The absence of such a force contributed to the destructive trajectory that the events took over the past years.

The proposal for the creation of this force comes late, but being late is better than not taking action. Additionally, because there is no alternative to finding an Arab deterrent force capable of defeating terrorism and contribute to its non-proliferation to protect Arab security, especially the security of the Arab countries that deal with terrorism, and the worn mechanisms of joint Arab action or for contentious, adventurous states should not be allowed to disable it.

This calls for action on the formation of the proposed force outside the framework of the Arab League, if necessary. The Charter of the Arab League is merely ink on paper. It is an ineffective organization, and its decision-making mechanisms have expired because they did not evolve since they were put in place to reflect the facts and considerations that have changed radically since its inception.

Add to that, that the geographical and national affiliation of the Arab nation is no longer enough to ensure a minimum of convergence and harmony in the definition of common interests between the Member States of the League.

Some Member States are collapsing or failing entities, and may not be, consequently, coupling the League’s decisions with the stances of regimes that only represent the Arab League theoretically, or due to their destructive abilities. Some are slumbering in isolation, delusional about being far from the threats, while other countries pursuing policies that serve individual visions contrary to the national interests of other countries members of the league, and in line with the ambitions of regional non-Arab countries.

Among this confusion, the project of a joint force will fail if leave for the Arab League. The gap between the Arab states is large. This means it is impossible to find consent among all Member States at the League.

Some will oppose this as a trend for the establishment of a new axes in the region. But who said that these axes do not exist now, and in contexts beyond the Arab matrix? Qatar and Turkey constitute an axis that manifests itself in the negative effects of its policies in Syria and Libya, and incessant pressure on Egypt. While the destruction of the Iran, Syria, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah axis hikes in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Where is the harm, then, in an axis that includes Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and other Arab countries who met with the goal of protecting their people from terrorism and other threats? The emergence of this bloc framework for joint action open its doors to any Arab country who choose to align with its objectives; it can be called a new era of effective Arab collective action that cannot be ruined by a government that destroyed its country or another that ventures with the Arab security out of arrogance or alignment with narrow agendas.

The dangers that beset the region has reached a limit that forces initiatives of the same size. Islamic State gang will not go away unless there is a joint Arab action supported internationally to defeat it on the ground. The Syrian crisis will not end unless the Arab states moved with comprehensive resolution plan that the Arab League failed to fleshed out and mobilize international support for.

As such, comes the Egyptian proposal to form a joint Arab force by "those who attended" if necessary. This should be the policy for dealing with all the issues facing the Arab countries unless the Arab League was reformed. It is no longer acceptable that our right, even national duty, to protect our interests and face our common challenges, remain a prisoner to the consensus of members of the league. The contradictions in policies and disparities in capacity between these members makes action, by “those who attended” the only option.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition