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Arab summits are vain ceremonial efforts to pretend Arab unity exists

Apr 13,2019 - Last updated at Apr 13,2019

When less and less Arab leaders attend Arab summits, isn't that a vote of no confidence in them! I think yes.

The last Arab summit in Tunis saw a good number of Arab leaders "boycotting" the meeting for one reason or another that were not very convincing to most observers.

The trouble with the Arab summit lies in the proposition that it is convened rather routinely at a time when there is more that divides the Arab states than unites them. This is a fact!

The crux of the challenge, therefore, lies in the obvious fact that the Arab world remains divided as ever, with no sign that the Arab countries are able to bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality. Some Arab leaders tend to be condescending towards one another.

I said it before and I say it gain for whatever it is worth, the Arab states are sovereign and independent countries that put their own national interest ahead of the collective interests of the so-called “Arab nation”. One former Jordanian prime minister was once quoted as saying that the Arab states are no different from the Latin American nations, which speak the same language and enjoy the same culture, but yet are seldom in agreement on regional issues.

Against this backdrop, is it a folly to defy reality and logic and expect miracles from the Arab summits when few of them ended with any spectacular or lasting results? So why bother to convene Arab summits when the Arab world remains divided to the core? Maybe there is hope that changes for the better could occur within the Arab world at some point in history, and a common interest approach may emerge out of the existing disarray.

Part of the challenge facing Arab summits is the proposition that some Arab countries enjoy a minimum level of democracy and the rule of law. This means, inter alia, that the Arab peoples are not necessarily the masters of their destiny so as to dictate the deliberations of Arab summits. As long as this is the case, hope for a change may take longer than expected.

The process of turning all the Arab states into states with the rule of law and a respect for human rights, while enjoying a truly functional and a operational democracy, could be slower than expected. Yet, this transformation is bound to happen sooner or later. But until this change occurs, Arab summits may continue to be a vain diplomatic or ceremonial effort to pretend that Arab unity exists when it is not really there.

The last Arab summit in Tunis is yet more proof that Arab summits are uneventful. Neither the Arab world nor the international community took much notice of the summit. This fate of the Arab summit must change before the next one is held.

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