Friday 22 September 2017

How Isil's butchery has provoked Arabs to bomb the enemies of the West

A girl holds up a poster with pictures of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by Islamic State in Libya, as they gather in a gesture to show their solidarity, in front of the Egyptian embassy in Amman
A girl holds up a poster with pictures of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by Islamic State in Libya, as they gather in a gesture to show their solidarity, in front of the Egyptian embassy in Amman
Coptic Christian women attend at the Coptic mass prayers for the Egyptians beheaded in Libya, at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
A Coptic Christian cries at Coptic mass prayers for the Egyptians beheaded in Libya, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called for a United Nations resolution mandating an international coalition to intervene in Libya after Egypt's airforce bombed Islamic State targets there (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Bob Fisk

Just when Washington and Nato feared they were going to be bombing Isil on their own, the self-styled 'Islamic State' has single-handedly created a new Arab military alliance to bomb the West's enemies.

By its seaside slaughter of 21 Egyptian Christians, Isil has brought ex-Field Marshal President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi into the war against it. And by burning Jordan's captured pilot alive, it provoked 56 more air strikes from Jordan, a return to action by the UAE and a flight of Bahraini jets to Amman to help in the struggle. In what is almost a sideshow, Libya's air force - supporting one of its country's two rival governments - continues to bomb Isil fighters, but now in co-operation with Egypt.

So President Obama and the Pentagon can, it seems, take satisfaction in seeing their "moderate" friends in the Middle East flying alongside them in their latest version of the "war on terror". So far, so good. No "boots on the ground", as the now-hackneyed expression goes. No Western lives in danger - save for the pitiful handful of hostages still held in Raqqa. Of course, any Iraqi who opposes the 'Islamic State', any Iraqi Shia, and any Christian - Libyan or otherwise - who falls foul of Isil's sectarian hatred, will suffer accordingly. But that will be Arab killing Arab. Americans are safe. So are the Israelis.

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