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What Good Is an Arab Military Alliance?

The recent framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program represents progress on one major security challenge in the Middle East. But, as some Arab countries move to establish a joint military force, another security question is emerging: Will such an alliance leave the region better or worse off?

LONDON – The framework nuclear agreement that Iran and the P-5 (China, Britain, France, Russia, and the United States) plus Germany recently reached represents progress on one major security challenge in the Middle East. But, as some Arab countries move to establish a joint military force, another security question is emerging: Will such an alliance leave the region better or worse off, particularly given today’s growing Sunni-Shia divide?

A nine-country Saudi-led coalition, which includes Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Jordan, is already carrying out airstrikes against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen – an effort that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently declared will end with the Saudis’ “noses [being] rubbed to the soil.” Yet Egypt’s president, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has indicated that the coalition’s mandate may be extended beyond Yemen.

But what is that mandate?

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