CAIRO: The Arab League in Cairo is began hosting Tuesday a meeting of military chiefs of staff of its 26 member states to discuss the possibility of forming joint Arab military force to fight the region’s growing extremist threat, in the light of a recommendation by the Arab League summit last month in Sharm el-Sheikh.
This week’s meeting is expected to last for a couple of days; even if the participants reach an agreement on the force, participation in it is optional. Iraq has already expressed its reservations to its involvement.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called on establishing this force following the murders of 20 Egyptian Copts by the Islamic State (IS) group in Libya in February. Egypt launched airstrikes against IS positions in Libya in cooperation with the internationally–recognized Libyan government based in Tobruk.
However, Egypt rejected joining an international alliance led by the U.S with a membership of Gulf countries and Jordan to fight IS in Iraq and Syria over some political disagreements with the Obama administration foreign policy.
Cairo is, however, currently still a member of the Saudi-led alliance to curb Shiite Houthi fighters in Yemen.