BEIRUT: Foreign minister Gebran Bassil called for “total war” against ISIS Sunday, saying the militant group poses an existential threat to the region.
“The solution is a total ideological, religious, political, diplomatic, media, financial, security and military war in which all Arab states participate without exception,” Bassil said.
Lebanon’s top diplomat was speaking after his meeting with the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, the premier Sunni institution in the Arab world, after an Arab League meeting to discuss the threat of ISIS and terrorism.
“We are today facing an existential danger that threatens our human values,” he said. “We as Christians and Muslims, with our coexistence and diversity are all involved in protecting our values and diversity.”
Bassil said he hopes that the Arab world will unite in fighting terrorist and takfiri groups like ISIS.
The radical militant group now controls large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq and is holding Lebanese soldiers and policemen captive. Fighters who pledged loyalty to ISIS also helped briefly overrun the bordertown of Arsal last month.
“The Arab world with its states, borders and people is threatened with eradication before the war launched by ISIS and the response is a joint Arab war against this organization,” Bassil said.
“Lebanon is the tip of the spear and we are paying the price and giving martyrs from the citizenry and the Lebanese Army,” he added. “Lebanon is in need of assistance to face ISIS and we today we sought Al Azhar’s Sheikh because his support for us is crucial and we count on it.”