Stagnation in the Arab Middle East
"When Nasser ruled Egypt or when Saddam, [Hafez] Assad, and Qaddafi were in power and at their climax, the Arab League had some weight as a tool in these leaders’ hands."
"Later, however, it became a place for chicken fights and empty rhetoric."
Youssef Cherif, Tunisian political analyst
"The Arab League is a dead body being kept in the ICU [intensive care unit] out of hopes we can find a new remedy to revive the Arab regional order."
"The major decisions being taken about the region are not being taken by Arab strongmen anymore, they are being taken by Iran, Turkey, and Russia."
Oraib Rantawi, director, Al Quds Center for Political Studies, Amman, Jordan
"The Arab political system has failed to solve the crises and halt the collapse, as the trust of Arab citizens in the joint Arab institutions has eroded."
Ayman Safadi, Jordanian foreign minister
"Israel is continuing to expand settlements and wreck chances of peace ... There is no peace or stability in the region without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause through a two-state solution."
King Abdullah, Jordan
|Arab League Summit - Reuters|
The Arab League did the best it could in response to the presence of an enemy of such gross magnitude, combining military attacks time and again to dislodge Israel's stubborn, malign presence, and all to no avail. Unavailing to the tiny Jewish nation's challengers, that is, but useful to the Jewish state in the sense that it conquered territory previously its own in historical context, but viewed by historical Arab conquest as the possession of Islam, not Judaism. The result of the last of those wars in 1967 led 22 Arab states to an agreement that assuaged their wounds.
"Three nos", in the sense that they would never agree to a peace with Israel, never give the Jewish state recognition, and under no circumstances negotiate with Israel. To do so would represent a normalizing of relations between the Arab and Muslim nations which wanted no truck with a Jewish state in their midst. Its very presence represented an assault on the most basic of Islamic principles; that land once consecrated to Islam could never be permitted to revert to another religion; blasphemous in its very thought let alone reality.
But then, second thoughts kicked in eventually, as reality settled in for the long haul; Israel was there and meant to remain just where it was. An astonishingly generous Arab Peace Initiative came out of the 2002 Arab League Summit when 22 Arab states agreed to recognize Israel and to come around to establishing normal relations, with the required provision that Israel agree to surrender all territory it had gained before the 1967 failed Arab assault. The establishment of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return of Palestinian 'refugees' to Israel representing the non-negotiable foundation of the Initiative.
As the world well knows, the Initiative still languishes since those demands would starkly enfeeble the existence of Israel. Therefore, all that has occurred, from the transformative demands of the Arab Spring to the downfall of dictators and the rise of triumphant Islamism and worldwide jihadist terrorism can be laid at Israel's feet, to take full responsibility. It is true that Hamas was founded courtesy of the Muslim Brotherhood, to accomplish through terrorism what combined Arab armies hadn't succeeded in doing.
And Islamism, which Israel's irritating presence precipitated, turned Iran away from its emerging Western-style of progress into a convincing terrorist-supporting state which bred its proxy militia Hezbollah, leaving Libya's strongman Ghaddafi's title as the geography's breeder of terrorism in the dust. The Arab states' conflict with Aryan Iran, each challenging the other for supremacy leading to a reemergence of the traditional enmity between Shiite and Sunni in a virulently violent atmosphere is also obviously the fault of Israel's presence.
Iraq's post-Saddam collapse into a divided state with Sunni and Shia militias dedicated to destroying one another, an obvious Israeli plot to divide and conquer. Syria's Bashar al-Assad's Alawite Shiite government's vicious war on his Sunni majority civilians, is quick to identify Israel's baleful presence as the cause of hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians. Libya left in a quicksand atmosphere of roving armed tribal militias and violence, clearly also Israel's doing. The proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, another devilish plot by Israel.
It may appear on the surface that the Ayatollahs in Iran have funded and trained Shiite militias in support of the Baghdad government, and finances Hezbollah, but it is all Israel's fault. Leading Oman, Iraq and Lebanon to attempt to convince the Arab League to restore ties with Tehran. Sectarianism where Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia insist the Arab League must dedicate itself to a united Arab Sunni bloc, counters that initiative. Israel is behind it all, needless to say, sowing discord wherever it can.
There at the Arab League were the honourable, trustworthy and blameless Sunni Arab States represented by their rogues' gallery of monarchs, oil sheikdoms, and military dictatorships, and there, decidedly not in attendance were Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain, steeped in venomous strife. Division among the Arab states. And so, there is also division, unfortunately, among those present at the summit; whether to keep Syria's Assad at arm's length of disapproval for his wholesale slaughter of Sunni Arabs, or to re-unite him with the League.
It is a matter of principle, of honour, that all Arab nations be included, irrespective of the bloodshed and horrors they impose upon their people. Israel, by contrast, has no honour, needless to say. It is a country of war, not peace. Just ask the Arab League.