End of Political Monophony in Arab World
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End of Political Monophony in Arab World

But it is now a showcase of the depth of political conflicts among the member states, increasing split, security dependence on the global powers, and most importantly the inability to bridge the gaps and settle the disputes. The best example is the last week summit of the Arab parliaments held in Amman, Jordan. While Atef Tarawneh, Nabih Berri, and Marzouq al-Ghanem, respectively the parliament speakers of Jordan, Lebanon, and Kuwait, firmly pressed the gathering to add a condemnation of the Arab diplomatic normalization with the Israeli regime in the closing statement, the Saudi, Emirati, and Egyptian representatives objected to the stance and called on the states to rewrite the statement. Furthermore, the representative of the UAE parliament speaker called on the Jordanian speaker, as the chairman of the summit, to include what he called the Iranian intervention in the Arab state’s home affairs. The request failed to garner support among the representatives, however. At the EU-Arab League meeting in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh in late February, from the 21 Arab countries, only 11 participated at the level of kings and emirs, meaning that about half of the top leaders did not show up as their countries are at odds over a set of cases with other Arab countries. The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are the examples of the absentees. Yet another meeting that disclosed the intra-Arab differences was the Arab League’s economic conference held in January in Beirut, Lebanon. The low-level representation demonstrated the organization’s inability to shoulder its responsibilities to solve Lebanon and other Arab nations’ troubles. While in many parts of the world, the regional economic alliances and unions result in a strengthened political partnership, lack of such advancement in the Arab world is a sign their economic partnership plans have so far failed. Since its foundation in 1946, the Arab League economic meetings’ resolutions did not implement, allowing various crises across the Arab nations to remain in place to date. The dispute over leadership and artificial threats As many Arab world experts suggest, one root cause of inefficiency and divides among the Arab sheikhdoms, the Arab League, and other regional blocs is the authoritarian and non-democratic forms of regimes, conflict of ideologies, territorial and border disputes, and the domineering policies of some of the Persian Gulf states to exploit the blocs for advancing their own policies and goals. In this case, we should refer to the apparent role of Saudi Arabia over the past few decades that tried to channel the agenda of the Arab conferences towards the rivalry with Tehran, Doha, and recently Ankara. In fact, Riyadh’s struggle to seize the Muslim world leadership and deal a blow to the revisionist and reformist regional forces, for instance the resistance discourse of Iran and Muslim Brotherhood ideology of Turkey, in a bid to save the status quo practically digressed the Arab League from its essential goal of addressing home affairs of the member countries or responding threats posed by the Israeli regime. In 2011, the influencers of the bloc, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, pressed for suspension of the Syrian membership from the Arab League when the Arab nation was rocked by a heavy wave of home conflict and foreign-backed militancy. The bloc also supported foreign military intervention in Libya and Yemen for the good of the Riyadh regional policies as a strategic ally to the West and server of the Western interests in the region. Additionally, a campaign of Iranophobia is actively underway in the Arab League with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE spearheading its agenda, that is widening divisions between the opposite sides of the League. The factors blocking the road to intra-Arab convergence appear to have led the former chief of the Arab League Amr Moussa to alert the Arab leaders about the wrong course they are taking. In an interview with Al-Ghad newspaper of Jordan, Moussa said that enmity with Iran should not overshadow the Israeli regime’s anti-Arab hostilities and drive out the Palestinian freedom ideal from the Arab collective ambitions. “Such a stance is totally wrong,” he told the Jordanian newspaper. He added that one reason that the world prefers to talk to Iran and Turkey and not the Arabs on the regional crises is that the Arab states have leaders who talk in the representation of their own policy, not their people’s. Certainly, the special reception given to the Syrian parliament speaker who took part in such a meeting after nearly a decade, and also emphasis of Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon on the red line of normalization with Tel Aviv in the closing statement of Amman summit carried some messages. First, defeat of what many Arab public and politicians see as the “treasonous” policies of Al Saud rulers in opposition to the Muslim world’s interests and second, end of political monophony in the Arab League and start of a new page embracing a boost of popular approach in the policymaking. 

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