Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Joint Arab Sectarian Force

So Arab Joint Force is more like an intervening force for instability...

A few objectives can be excluded from the start. For example, post-conflict democratization cannot be the goal, given that Arab regimes lack the credentials or knowhow to craft democracies, and their militaries are neither willing nor able to assist in the process. Similarly, humanitarian intervention can be ruled out, owing not only to most Arab regimes’ lack of experience and inglorious human-rights records, but also because none of the official statements related to the founding of the joint force have remotely suggested that upholding human rights was ever a concern.

Stabilization might be an objective, but only if the relevant governments can agree on shared threats and how to address them. They could, for example, take the classic “balance of power/terror” approach, by intervening to undermine the more powerful actor in a conflict, force it to the negotiating table, and dictate the terms of any compromise, thereby ensuring that they benefit from the newly created status quo.

But the rise of Arab military coalitions raises serious concerns, not least because the history of Arab-led military interventions – unlike those carried out by the West in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, and even Libya – does not contain any promising precedent. Such interventions were usually aimed at empowering a proxy political force over its military and political rivals, instead of averting humanitarian disaster or institutionalizing a non-violent conflict-resolution mechanism following a war.

Many factors affect the outcome of a military intervention in a civil war, especially if it involves a ground offensive. In particular, Arab leaders should focus on revising the processes by which national-security policy is formulated, improving civil-military relations, providing the relevant training in peacekeeping and peace-building, reforming the political culture, and addressing socio-psychological complexes.

If Arab leaders fail to overcome these deficiencies, the latest Arab force could become the Middle East’s newest source of anti-democratic, sectarian-based instability, potentially intensifying the Sunni-Shia conflict.

That is the last thing the region needs.