Aftermath of airstrikes

Aftermath of airstrikes

Arab states should lead from the front in tackling threats

By Dr Ahmed Mokhtar (cairo Insights)

Published: Mon 23 Feb 2015, 10:39 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 11:17 PM

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED… An Egyptian Air Force fighter jet lands at an undisclosed location in Egypt following air strikes in Libya. — AFP

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED… An Egyptian Air Force fighter jet lands at an undisclosed location in Egypt following air strikes in Libya. — AFP

The American reaction to the beheadings of 21 Egyptians by the terrorist group Daesh in Libya was not surprising. Washington did not condemn the tragic incident, and the formal statement, issued by the US Department of State, regarding the Egyptian airstrikes on Daesh strongholds in Libya confirmed the ambiguity of the American attitude towards threats surrounding the Arab world.

Egyptians from all walks of life agreed that the American attitude reflected hidden purposes to its policy, since the growth of Daesh threat in Libya was not a surprise to the West. The US and the Western nations have open channels of communication with such groups, and consequently the beheadings of Egyptians will not push them to take a step that is not on their current list of priorities.

Egyptians know that what is happening in Libya, Syria and Yemen comes at the whim of American politicians who say that there must be a political solution to the crisis. Accordingly, the US and the West refuse to the lift the ban on exporting weapons to the legitimate authority in Libya that is trying to face terrorist organisations. One can assume that this is part of a long-term scenario to destabilise Egypt and the whole Arab world.

The Egyptian Army’s airstrikes on Libya’s Daesh helped make Egyptians feel relieved to a certain extent after the tragic killings, but the question remains as to what extent will the events keep on developing? And will the whole Arab world move to ward off such a threat, or Egypt will face it alone?

I imagine that failing to hold a summit of the Arab League in order to face the Daesh threat serves as an official announcement that the organisation is void. It hasn’t responded to what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, and I don’t know when it will react. We should not wait for the West to act against threats surrounding us. Rather, we, the Arabs, are the ones who should take the lead.

Any government formed in Libya will need potentials for establishing security and restoring normalcy for its citizens.

Scenarios closer to reality show that a military confrontation with terrorist groups in Libya is inevitable. Daesh in Syria, Iraq and Libya clearly stated that it wants to reshape the whole world to its own order, starting with the Arab countries. Therefore, a political resolution alone is not enough because negotiations will take a very long time, allowing terrorist groups to grow stronger and fiercer.

Confronting terrorist organisations that threaten world peace and security must come at once in order to eliminate them. I don’t call for a foreign military intervention in Libya, but I want all Arabs to pay attention to the fact that our national security priorities may not be compatible with others’ priorities. That’s why we must have alternatives. However, the situation in the Arab region calls for confronting all terrorist groups in all places at once, something that requires continuous coordination between the Arab countries and following up development very carefully. Here comes a hoped-for role by the Arab League according to Arab national security priorities, instead of waiting for others to act according to their own agendas.

Cooperation and coordination between the Arab states is a must. And easing the tensions between Egypt and Qatar is a necessity, since our Arab nation doesn’t need any internal conflicts, especially during the current critical times. Thus, we need to go back to the reconciliation initiative of the late Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, because our historic relations must remain strong and all Arab nations must lean towards unity. 

Dr Ahmed Mokhtar is the deputy editor-in-chief of Al Ahram Al Massai

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