The European Union is seeking to build an alliance with Mideast countries, including Iran, to help Iraq stave off the military advances of the Islamic State, a European official told Reuters on Thursday.
“It is important to have everyone on board against the ISIL [Islamic State] because this shouldn’t be seen as a confrontation between the western countries and the ISIL. It should be clearly a confrontation between ISIL and all the countries of the region,” the senior official was quoted as saying.
The countries reportedly in question include Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia Lebanon, Turkey and Iran.
The EU official suggested the plan would be to share information among the countries “to see if all together we can move ahead and try to find a way not only to stop the present ISIL offensive but also to try to push it back.”
EU foreign ministers are set to meet Friday to discuss the situation in Iraq where IS gunmen have made astounding advances, overruning Iraqi security forces, taking large swath of territory, controlling dams and oilfields, and forcing thousands of non-Sunni Muslims to flee, setting off a humanitarian crisis.
Last week, the US launched airstrikes on IS terrorists’ positions in Iraq, who trapped tens of thousands of Yazidis on a mountaintop, and made air drops of food and water to members of the displaced minority.
The US has also pledged military aid to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State. France and Germany have indicated that they would also be willing to help militarily.
The EU official spoke of the threat of IS as “a new type of organization that can play the role of a terrorist group but at the same time try to grasp parts of a territory and try to set up its own state.:
“That is one of the reasons why we really need to discuss this with the countries in the region and to try to have a common position and common attitude towards that phenomenon,” he said ahead of the EU meeting Friday.
AP contributed to this report.