CAIRO —Arab states must unite to confront the threat posed by the militants of the Islamic State, the secretary-general of the Arab League told member foreign ministers Sunday.
Nabil Arabi’s comments in the Egyptian capital came as the Obama administration seeks to put together a coalition to act against the radical Sunni Muslim militia, which has executed two American journalists in recent weeks and seized large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Both the Arab world and Western nations have been groping for a means of responding to the Islamic State, which has eclipsed al-Qaida in its radicalism, degree of on-the-ground military effectiveness and extent of territory captured.
Arabi appeared in his comments to pave the way for Arab agreement to a Western intervention, noting that a “comprehensive confrontation” was needed to cope militarily with the threat posed by the Islamic State.
“What is happening in Iraq, and the presence of an armed terrorist group that not only challenges the state authority but its very existence and that of other countries … is one of the examples of the challenges that are violently shaking the world,” he told the gathering, according to the Associated Press.
Western action against the Islamic State would be greatly eased by an Arab call for joint action against the group, Arabi told the ministers, citing previous accords under which member states would defend one another.