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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

The threat of ISIL unites the fight in Yemen, Libya and Syria

What the Arabic press is saying about the negotiations on Syria, Libya and Yemen, featuring Al Ittihad and Asharq Al Awsat
Will the threat of ISIL prompt the international community to end the conflict in Syria? (Omar Haj Kadhour / AFP)
Will the threat of ISIL prompt the international community to end the conflict in Syria? (Omar Haj Kadhour / AFP)

A flurry of internationally stimulated diplomatic activity last week centred on Yemen, Libya and Syria. Abdulwahab Badrakhan, a Lebanese columnist, wrote in Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper to The National, that at the heart of this was putting a stop to terrorism – beginning with ISIL.

Switzerland saw the start of negotiations between warring parties in Yemen in a bid to enforce UN Resolution 2216, which calls for an end to the insurgency and the restoration of legitimate state institutions. This has strong support from the international community and the Saudi-led coalition, which has been making strides in its campaign to tip the power balance on the ground in favour of the internationally recognised government.

On the Libyan issue, an agreement – under pressure from international players – was reached in Rome by a range of factions to form a government of national unity to end the continuing conflict and to rescue the country from its threatening impasse, especially following ISIL’s emergence in the Libyan security landscape.

In the Syrian crisis, the UN Security Council finally managed to produce a unanimous resolution, which constitutes a series of headlines for measures that will require months to be implemented and which lack any solid guarantees for any effective results. It was also agreed despite the absence of consensus among the members of the international community interested in Syria on a number of essential issues including the future of Bashar Al Assad and the official representation of the opposition front.

More importantly, the various parties have yet to agree on how to distinguish between terrorist organisations and moderate opposition groups.

“In any case, ISIL isn’t only the common denominator between the three issues, but the primary catalyst behind the new and long-awaited international conglomeration,” he wrote.

“They was jolted out of hibernation by the terrorist attacks in Paris, which showed no country in the world is immune to the threat of terrorism.”

As 2015 comes to an end, the fight against ISIL has become a pan-continental quest.

There have been calls for a more substantial contribution from Arab countries in international anti-terrorist efforts.

“Hence, the announcement of the anti-terrorist Islamic Coalition earlier this month came as a resonating response to international aspirations,” he added.

“After all, curbing terrorism is an Arab and Islamic cause par excellence.”

Speaking on the newly formed Islamic coalition, the columnist Mashari Al Dhaydi wrote in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat that the coalition was a success even before it started.

“The coalition isn’t only a matter of military or intelligence cooperation. It goes much deeper. It signals to the world that Muslims everywhere – backed by their states – are at the front line in the war on terrorism, be it ISIL or other groups, Sunni or Shiite. This is the general message,” he noted.

The coalition’s significance lies in its practical approach to military and security coordination between member states, and in the coordinated protocols of anti-terrorist education to mobilise Muslim communities in depth against extremist religious groups.

It was noteworthy that ISIL itself was among the first detractors of the new organisation. It threatened to attack Saudi for what it described as “an alliance with Crusaders”. Meanwhile, Iran, its affiliates and media outlets affiliated with Russia also criticised the Islamic coalition.

Coalitions of this type – be they military, political, economic, security-related or otherwise – are necessary to overcome the serious challenges and threats to the security and future of the Arab world.

Addressing a Yemeni resistance delegation this week, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, reiterated that the Arab world was experiencing complex challenges that “don’t exclude any of us and may impact future generations unless we unite our positions”.

Al Dhaydi described the challenges as “complex and cross- disciplinary ... that no country could address high-handedly. And for these reasons, the coalition is indeed a success even before it started”.

Translated by Racha Makarem

rmakarem@thenational.ae

Updated: December 23, 2015 04:00 AM

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