The head of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby, urged its members Sunday to confront Islamic State extremists “militarily and politically,” issuing an apparent call to arms. He said that what is needed from Arab countries is a “clear and firm decision for a comprehensive confrontation” with “cancerous and terrorist” groups. The Arab League includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
It wasn’t immediately clear what steps the Arab League would take in supporting the West’s campaign against the Islamic State. Reaching a consensus on how to move could be complicated by Arab world rivalries and member countries’ different spheres of influence.
Elaraby himself noted that the Arab League’s member states have failed to help each other in the past when facing local armed groups, often because of disagreements and fear of being accused of meddling in one another’s affairs. He called the Islamic State a threat to the existence of Iraq and its neighbors. It is “one of the examples of the challenges that are violently shaking the Arab world, and one the Arab League, regrettably, has not been able to confront,” he said.