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-Shiite 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, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, has indicated that the coalition’s mandate may be extended beyond Yemen.
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