The Saudi-led snubbing of the Arab Summit in Syria is a demonstration, or rather an acknowledgment, of Saudi Arabia’s new-found leadership role in the Arab world, with several key states following its lead, including Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen (a total of nine no-shows). By the same token, it is also a demonstration, or rather an acknowledgment, of the official death of Arab unity, which these annual summits are meant to symbolize. One might also argue that the boycott/snubbing is symbolic of another crucial observation: the growing rift between pro-US and not-so-pro-US Arab states, the latter which has become personified by a growing Syria-Iran alliance. It is a relationship most Arab states are frowning on, with Syria being perceived as a conduit through which Iran will seek to penetrate the political bubble of the Arab world. With Iraq in flames, political tsunamis in Lebanon and a broken Palestine, the outcome of this summit couldn’t have come at a better time.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Siniora is still blaming Syria for their political crisis, with presidential elections being delayed 16 times.
Syria has been struggling these past few years to regain a powerful leadership role in the region, much of which is associated with its involvement in Lebanon, as well as its dealings with Tehran as a go-between with Hizballah. In other words, if the Arab League was a Parliament, Syria would now become the minority voice of the opposition, which ironically, represents the majority of opinion on the Arab street.
As for Jordan, attempts to reconcile relations with the neighbour to the north this past year have all gone down the tube with this snub.
And things were going so well…
In the end, I think perhaps its time to disassemble both the Arab League and the Arab Summit. They serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever and the growing perception by the Arab world that both entities are a farce, has become a demonstrated reality; a fact.