This year’s Arab league summit, which convened in Kuwait – a country that not too long ago was gobbled up by fellow League member Iraq – highlights the absurdity of the Arab League and its façade of unity. The following represents the dizzying labyrinth of mistrust and political back-stabbing in the Arab world and its risible and often contradictory manifestations.
The Shiite-led Iraqi government, which governs a dysfunctional entity that has essentially split into three rival parts, has accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of waging war on Iraq. Saudi Arabia has in turn withdrawn its ambassador from Qatar (yes, the same Qatar that has ostensibly allied itself with Saudi Arabia to wage war on Iraq) over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have also withdrawn their ambassadors. This despite the fact that all four – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar — are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council; so much for “cooperation.”
Syria – where at least six disunited Sunni rebel groups are battling the Shiite-backed Alawites – has for all intents and purposes ceased to exist as a nation. Syria’s Kurds, taking a cue from their Kurdish kinsmen in Iraq, want nothing to do with either side and have carved out an autonomous salient in the northeast. Bashar Assad’s crackdown prompted Syria’s suspension from the League. Last year, the League invited rebel representatives to appear on behalf of Syria, but inexplicably this year no such invitation was forthcoming and the Syrian seat remains vacant.
Egypt, a country wracked by internecine conflict waged between a stew of militarists, Islamists, secularists and Salafists, has virtually declared war on Hamas over the latter’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas has also had a falling out with its former ally, the Islamic Republic of Iran over Hamas’s perceived support for anti-Assad rebel factions.
Meanwhile Hamas and their Palestinian rival, the so-called Fatah group, led by Palestinian strongman Mahmoud Abbas, have been unable to reconcile their bitter differences. No one is really certain of what those differences are since both groups espouse misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, judeophobia and general hatred of all other beliefs that don’t conform to Sharia law.
Somalia, another exemplary member of the League, is run by warlords and pirates and it appears that a post-Kaddafi Libya has adopted the Somali model for governance. Lebanon, a failed state since its creation in 1943, has turned into an Iranian proxy. The Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, dominates the country, but Beirut is swiftly reverting to its civil war years as a result of spillover from the Syrian conflict. The rest of the League’s members similarly remain a hair’s breadth away from imploding as ideological and theological rifts widen.
Disunity and dysfunction are common themes within the League. Countless intra-Arab wars, endless infighting and internecine conflict bear testament to this fact. That is why Arab League summits generally lead to nothing but fluff and a collection of empty, banal pronouncements proclaiming unity and solidarity and boring repetition of the usual platitudes. This year’s summit did not disappoint and emerged predictable as ever.
The Arab League declared its “absolute and categorical refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” The Arab world may be disunited and in a perpetual state of flux but when it comes to Israel – or the Zionist entity – they are anything but inconsistent. Nothing has changed since the Khartoum summit of 1967 when the League declared its intention never to recognize Israel. Refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state underscores the Arab inability to reconcile the presence of non-Muslims – Jews no less – living and thriving in their ancestral homeland.
In the Arab view, it is permissible to have twenty-two Arab nations bereft of their indigenous Jewish populations – some of which predated Arab settlement – but impermissible to have one Jewish state. Beyond the League’s overt racism and manifest hypocrisy lies the sad truth that the xenophobic Arab world cannot bring itself to accept a Jewish connection to any part of historic Israel and that remains the one true impediment to peace. The sooner Secretary Kerry & Company become cognizant of this fact, the closer we get to resolving the problem.