Analysis: Algeria Summit not a total bustLet’s not lose hope [Archives:2005/828/Front Page]
By Prof. Abdulaziz al-Tarb
For the Yemen Times
The Arab public did not expect much from the Algeria Summit because they believed it was meant to counteract blame. Arab people know well that their leaders always need some sort of cover up or resolution to justify a policy or renege on a commitment.
I don't want to say that the Algeria Summit had lost opportunities or realized the minimum level of formality. It is known that we minimize meetings even at the level of a summit.
The absence of Arab leaders is a fracture in the Arab solidarity. This is why hot and difficult issues were not discussed. Arab leaders are not used to collective thinking and their visions are still blurred.
The expected minimum would have humbly included elimination of inter-Arab differences, setting up a mechanism for implementing the economic integration resolutions, finding out solutions to sticking points, cooperation in all areas that serve Arab interests, and opening new horizons of opportunities and optimism for the Arab people.
These following issues were not addressed effectively:
– The Palestinian Cause, after Sharm al-Sheikh, and helping the new Palestinian Authority get out of the critical stage, binding the Palestinian factions, giving no excuses to Israel to execute its expansive, aggressive plans and disengage itself from peace commitments.
– Building up pressure on foreign countries particularly the United States to attempt at reaching a fair settlement for the Middle East Crisis according to the international legitimacy and activating the Arab peace initiative in reintroducing it to the World after amending its terms. The implementation policy should then be submitted to the summit's decision-makers.
– Assisting the Iraqi people to restore their sovereignty, free will, stopping current bloodshed, fostering the democratic approach to draft a permanent constitution in the country and forming a permanent national government entitled to ask foreign forces to leave, regain sovereignty over all the Iraqi land, thwarting schemes of disintegration, terrorism proliferation and stationing permanent foreign bases.
– Assisting Syria and Lebanon to solve the current crisis; finding out wise plausible solutions that can scare away the specter of foreign intervention and restore robust links between the two twin countries; siding with the voice of mind and joint interest rather than sensitivities and past feuds.
– Reforming the Arab League entirely and comprehensively. This should not be limited to the voting system or other “plastic surgeries” and formalities such as the initiative of forming and Arab Parliament etc.; caring not about who will take the Secretary General's chair at the Arab league or other affiliated organizations and what their nationalities are; forming the Arab Court.
– Setting up an Arab-made plan for comprehensive reform, modernization, and improvement so that we let no chance for other initiatives to be imposed from outside such as that promoted by the US. Reform is a national necessity and not an American or foreign need.
– No reform, no development, and not advancement unless the plague of terrorism is eradicated. Hence, Arabs should cooperate and coordinate with each other to cope with this destructive danger.
The above points are the ones that could have been covered had the Arab leaders wanted the Summit to be a success. It could have at least saved what remains.
As I mentioned, the Summit did not tackle the thorny issues. It was just a routine one held just by reason of the annual formality.
They are manifested in the absence of some influential Arab leaders such as from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, and Lebanon, the last of whom may be excused.
Another disadvantage is evading to ask for a US pullout from Iraq and Israel's withdrawal from Gawlan simultaneously with the Syrian pullback from Lebanon.
First: The holding of the summit. Some predicted it would not be held at all.
Second: Agreement to apply the Arab Peace Initiative and urging the American and the Europeans as an approach to realize peace, democracy, and development in the area and limit the propagation of violence and terrorism.
Third: Approval of Arab Foreign Minister's recommendations and drafts.
Fourth: Supporting the system of the Arab League, remitting payments in default, and paying the dues.
After the last 60 years, the Age of the Arab league, I do not expect much from an Arab Parliament to be formed by feeble Arab countries. It would be absolutely unsatisfactory. Yet, I have not lost hope. Despite the fact that the Arab countries are not those of institutions and that the people are controlled by the rulers, the governors are aware of the ongoing developments and difficult conditions as well as the besetting crises and internal and external pressures. Hammers are now knocking at the Arab doors and will break into the Arab homes with no permission. They think they have the right to participate and even blatantly intervene. Will such conditions ever beget new policies and creative establishments?
Man does not live on hope only. Nevertheless, let us hope against all odds.
We should introduce ourselves and our claims at the meetings of the UN General Assembly in this September when international resolutions are to be produced regarding reform. Let us deliberate with and consult each other envisaging the next summit in Khartoum.
Otherwise, the Arab countries will not mind to embrace externally-imposed reforms to get out of the vicious circle of authoritarianism, monopoly, and guardianship. The people will do this because they want to live, like other peoples around the world, with freedom, dignity, welfare, and peace.
The coming summits would come after changes unless we fulfill our duty of providing a decent life for our people. Many a hazard lurks and, so, we must adopt the alternatives of reform.