Needed: a Joint Arab Force against Terror
by DR. WALID PHARES
February 16, 2010
In a recent discussion with American and European legislators as well as with counterterrorism experts from the Arab world, I suggested the formation of an "Anti-Terror Joint Force" as appropriate response to the expansion of Terror organizations both al Qaeda and Iranian backed, throughout the region. Over the past few years, I gave briefings to the Anti-Terror Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives as well as to several defense agencies on how can such an initiative start among Arab Governments and later expand to Muslim countries. These countries in the Arab world are already fighting Terrorism in general and al Qaeda in particular. Yemen, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, and several Gulf states. They are already confronting al Qaeda and Jihadi Takfiris in their homelands and, in some cases, they are fighting networks backed by the Iranian regime, as is the case in Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Hence, an Arab leadership on counter terrorism is the best idea to put all these resources together. The creation of an Arab special forces corps would benefit all countries involved and would be backed by many Western countries.
An Arab joint effort against terrorism is not only beneficial on military and security levels but also on ideological ones, because Arab intellectuals and NGOs, when approached and supported seriously, can be efficient in countering radicalization and indoctrination by Jihadi Salafis and Khomeinists.
Furthermore, such a Trans Arab effort against Terrorism would enhance the image of Arab countries and societies in the West and at the international stage. After 9/11, connections were made between the Jihadists and entire Arab societies. With the rise of a common Anti Terror Arab force, these connections will be reversed as the international public opinion would then see these important efforts on behalf of several countries coming together to defeat a common enemy, al Qaeda and resist a global threat: Terrorism.
The new Iraq in particular, if successful in resisting al Qaeda and Iranian penetration, can become a leading regional force against Terrorism. This is a country which is attacked every week by al Qaeda and constantly infiltrated by Iranian networks. In a sense, Iraq is at the forefront of the War with the Terrorists, particularly the Jihadi Salafists and the Khomeinists. Hence, as U.S. and Coalition forces are withdrawing, Iraq must be enabled to defend itself and resist future attacks. If such a regional Arab force against Terror is established, Iraqi forces from all ethnic groups should take center stage in the missions to come. For Iraqi society and armed forces have been battling this menace on a daily basis for many years now.