The creation of an Arab Defence Force (ADF) marks the emergence of a Saudi-led coalition ready to fight the twin threats of Iran and Islamic State. Whether the new grouping will prove a regional bulwark for endangered Sunni regimes following the US’s disengagement from the Middle East will depend on how ADF operations fare in Yemen and, probably, Libya.

Unveiled at the last Arab League Summit in Cairo in March 2015, the ADF is to be made up principally of the Sunni Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The force may be deployed at the request of any Arab nation facing a national security threat and to combat terrorist groups, according to a resolution passed at the summit.


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 Bernard Siman
In this sense, the ADF represents a paradigm shift by Arab regional players, as they redefine geopolitical risk away from Israel and towards two existential threats against which they must mount a common defence: the Islamic State and Iran
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