Arab League: We Condemn ISIS

Posted: Sep 08, 2014 2:40 PM

President Obama will unveil on Wednesday his strategy to combat and ultimately destroy ISIS. You'll recall that the White House has known for “at least a year” about this mounting threat, and yet the president memorably revealed by accident last week that he had “no strategy” to contain them. The speech will perhaps begin alleviating fears and changing public perceptions that the president is way over his head.

The ISIS threat is not merely a provincial problem. Many Arab countries, for example, are slowly realizing how their highly organized and well-trained army threatens global security. To that end, the Arab League officially and finally condemned the terrorist organization, vowing to “challenge” their supremacy in the region after agreeing to “urgent measures” -- namely, a joint resolution -- to do just that:

The Arab League agreed Monday to take urgent measures to combat extremists like the Islamic State group as one of its suicide bombers killed 16 people at a meeting of Sunni tribal fighters and security troops in Iraq. The resolution, issued after late-night meetings of Arab foreign ministers a day earlier, doesn't explicitly back American military action against the group. U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking an international coalition to challenge the Islamic State group and is expected to outline his plan Wednesday to the American people.

But the resolution, issued as a separate statement from a comprehensive one dealing with Arab affairs, reflected a new sense of urgency among the 22-member states to challenge the militant group that has seized large swaths of territories in Iraq and Syria. The resolution calls for immediate measures to combat the group on the political, defense, security and legal levels. It didn't elaborate.

Surely the resolution is more a perfunctory statement than an explicit, detailed plan to combat ISIS. Still, it is a significant step in building an "international coalition" (as the president repeatedly says is one of his administration's stated goals), to stabilize the Middle East. What, if any, measures the Arab League will endorse or propose to aid the US remains to be seen, but their willingness to come to the table underscores how destructive and powerful ISIS has already become.