While the formation of an Arab force as announced by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following the end of the Arab summit in Egypt is a welcome idea in the fight against ISIS its does not come as a smooth fit for the challenge ahead.
The announcement was made after the close of the Arab summit over the weekend by the host of the summit. The joint military force is expected to be set up in the next four months by the members of 22-member Arab League.
Theoretically, that is the perfect opponent for ISIS and other Islamist outfits that are slowly taking root in Middle East countries and Northern African countries like Libya. The idea of a completely successful Arab military force can only be viewed as a dream rather than the actual reality on the ground. There is lot of mistrust among the Arab League members which only translates to Nations having ulterior motives and forming smaller alliances within that undermine the success of the entity.
The main players are Egypt which has the biggest and one of the best trained and equipped Army and Saudi Arabian Army that enjoys the very best of military equipment sourcing its funding from their oil wealth. Egypt hoes that the force will help deal with the threats against her from Libyan based ISIL affiliates.
The different armies expected to start operation in four months have different tactical training that means that logistically speaking they will need more time to train and be in sync with each other to conduct flawless operations.
The logistics of the force formation and station are bleak at best. Questions of where they will be stationed, what country will be in command and such like structural logistics are yet to be answered. In the past, such armies have been manipulated for political gain of one player against the others and who is to say this joint force is immune to such maneuvers in the future.
Some affected countries have already expressed reservations about the join forces terming it as a threat to their national security. Iraq was the first country to officially express reservations that it could be a Sunni Arab Force that could threaten the Shiite-led Government. “We will never allow the intervention of non-Iraqi forces on Iraqi soil,” Baghdad’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters on Saturday.
The success of the joint force could be successful if the two Arab power houses; Egypt and Saudi Arabia were to start the force and slowly incorporate other countries. These will make the force more effective seeing as the required structural and tactical infrastructure will have been put in place expanding the life span of the force.
Egypt that is at the forefront is experiencing greater and direct threat from the Libyan arm of ISIL that is becoming the haven for distraught terror group who are being driven out of Iraq and Syria. Egypt would require recruiting and wooing her North African neighbors’ Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco to join the force to achieve its main purpose of the proposed forced.
The joint force is a very logical future solution to the insurgents in the Arab countries and a long term lasting answer to Islamic extremism but its success entirely lies on the prior preparedness of the member states and treaty signatories.