US Arab allies Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait are discussing the creation of a military pact to take on militants, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East, The Associated Press has learned.
The alliance would also serve as a show of strength to counterbalance Iran. Two countries are seen as potential theaters for the alliance to act, senior Egyptian military officials said: Libya, where militants have taken over several cities, and Yemen, where Shiite rebels suspected of links to Iran have seized control of the capital.
Their consideration of a joint force illustrates a desire to go beyond the international coalition that the United States has put together to wage an air campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The officials said the alliance under consideration was not intended to intervene in Iraq or Syria but to act separately to address other extremist hotspots.
Three military officials discussed details of the talks and a fourth confirmed their comments. A Gulf official, who is aware of the discussions, told The Associated Press that the governments were coordinating on how to deal with Libya, and the talks were “ongoing on wider cooperation on how to deal with extremists in the region.”