Tuesday, March 27, 2007


"What are the main Arab difficulties and crises that the world, from the East to the West, and from the North to the South, is no longer 'capable' of withstanding due to their resistance to any treatment?

The Arabs' suffering is not only limited to unsolved political, economic and social issues and crises in the Middle East and North Africa. It includes looking for a 'drug' capable of healing the wounds of political adolescents and crazy people, and of those who have run away from their Arab home. The aim is to bring them back to the Arab ranks, especially in this critical period.

Political 'adolescence', internal crises and foreign challenges are a triad where each of them represents a serious illness playing its role in destabilizing the joint Arab system and work. This has become particularly evident after the policies adopted by some countries have scandalously become more and more based on solitary work, which has brought others to lose the capability of focusing on how to deal 'exemplarily' with 'crisis-ridden' Arab files from a unique perspective, and with a single policy in order to silence rivals....

Political adolescence is the most dangerous stage countries go through, especially if they lose their mental balance, live as bigger States than their own size or regional roles actually are, and are dominated by an impulse that looks for disputes and revenge, until they run into an 'accumulated' wall of problems and crises against them. At that point, their mind starts to go back to its inner nature or goes crazy and is hit by 'grandiose delusions'.

Since 1964, when the first conference of the Arab Summit was held, the Arab countries have been living in a stage marked by brazen adolescence. Indeed, they are living the worst kind of adolescence, marked by what psychology calls 'social withdrawal': the teenager decides not to take part in the decision-making process with his or her society, and prefers to be isolated and make their decisions all alone, withdrawing into their deformities and single-minded thoughts. Another kind is dominated by adolescence and 'boyish' jealousy: they resort to inflaming passions and invent problems and crises. At the Arab level, we have 'living' examples that never stop to make relations among countries strained without any justifications.

The Arab region, as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz metaphorically defined it, is 'a gunpowder keg that can explode at any time'. Defusing the 'gunpowder keg', of which political teenagers represent one of its tools, has now become a danger for inter-Arab relations. This calls for a 'clinical' and psychological treatment of adolescents, adventurers and fools, and also of those striving to sow the seeds of unrest, inflame hatred and rancor and increase division. The goal is to reach a 'unified' Arab pathway based on equilibrium and the logical reading of incidents, challenges and novelties threatening the joint work. Also, the Arab countries should line up together to prevent any foreign interferences and attempts to split these ranks by instigating peoples against another....

The region is going through a phase of acute polarization and sectarian differences that are close to sparking off civil wars. Also, there is Iran's increasing sway and its emergence as a regional force 'rebelling' against the international community.

The Arab files that the Riyadh Summit will be confronted with are very 'hot' and 'intense': a way to circulate the Arab Peace Initiative diplomatically and to work on revitalizing it at the international level; the capability to assist and support the Palestinian unity government; the crises in Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia; and, finally, the war on terror and peoples' requests to implement internal reforms, enlarge the scope of liberties, find radical solutions to the problems of unemployment and poverty, and fend off internal sedition. This requires changing the way the Arabs deal with the issues currently on the table, making these issues serious and credible, increasing people's participation and stopping the postponing of any possible action, especially because peoples' patience has run out and they are fed up.

Will the Riyadh Summit succeed in gathering the contradictions in order to reach decisions, find outlets capable of standing up firmly to crises and challenges, and find the drug that could heal the adolescent, the fool, the unemployed, the false and those like them"?
Jameel Theyabi in

Judging by the amount of sheer activity, it would appear that diplomacy aimed at resolving, or trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute has shifted into high geer. Not only is the Arab Summit in Rihyad in Saudia Arabia beginning on Wednesday, now expected to re-issue the 2002 Peace offer, made at that year's summit. The peace offer, which was the product of then Saudi Crown Prince, now King Abdullah, makes a straight offer of full Arab recognition, of Israel, along the border of 1967, with the proviso that it not bargain away, the internationally recognized right of Palestinian refugees to return, to their abodes circa 1947-1948. In actual fact, by not setting forth a means of returning the refugees to their (now vanished) homes, but merely calling for a 'just solution' to their grievances, the Arab Peace Plan, provides any Israeli government worth it salt, with a means of beginning a pour parler (on the specifics of the Summit Peace Plan, see: www.dailystar.com.lb & www.ft.com).

Will Tel Aviv take up the Arab Peace Offer? Will its American ally and backer, 'help' its Israeli client, to see the voice of wisdom and reason, in the plan, which while by no means parfait, does offer up, a relatively quick and easy route to lowering the tensions in the regions, tensions which as the above commentary in the Beirut daily Al-Hayat, shows is not between the Arab States and Israel, but between the Arab regimes in the region, and, their populations. Based upon past form, the answers to both questions should be a resounding 'non'.

However, in a surprise even for this commentator, the light-weight American Secretary of State, for once failed to disappoint, and instead pleasantly surprised many observers, by forging an agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert (another lightweight), and Palestinian Authority President, Abbas. According to Rice, in a press conference in Tel Aviv today, the two leaders have undertaken to:

"Meet together biweekly. This very positive development builds on their previous meetings and will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians" (see:www.state.gov).

In addition, according to Rice:

"The United States has a unique relationship with each party, and we will do our part to support their engagement. So I will meet with the Prime Minister and the President periodically – sometimes separately, sometimes together – in whatever form will be most effective to accelerate progress. The Israelis and Palestinians are taking the initial step on the path to peace, and the American role will include helping them to overcome obstacles, develop new ideas, and rally international support for their efforts. The meetings between the Israelis and Palestinians will focus on two sets of issues. First, they will discuss immediate concerns, like movement and access, management of the passages, and preventing arms smuggling and rocket fire by terrorists in Gaza. On issues like these, the United States is already deeply involved in helping them. On this trip, however, it became clear to all of us that establishing clear benchmarks to measure progress will help us move forward. So this is one immediate task that the parties will undertake with the assistance of General Keith Dayton" (see:www.state.gov).

These are useful beginning steps, particularly since, it is widely apparent that the Israeli side was less than enthusiastic about the whole framework of the apparent accord (On this see:www.haaretz.com). And, while one is fully alive to the sort of cynicism expressed today, in the Beirut Daily Star, by Rami Khoury, that there is au fond a 'fundamental dishonesty' about the American approach to Near Eastern peace-making, that does not obviate the fact that finally, fitfully, the Americans are putting a bit of backbone, into Near Eastern peacemaking (for Khoury's comments see: "Rice's Show: is it comedy or horror", in www.dailystar.com.lb). Obviously, one can only regret the fact, that Rice acceded to Olmert's pleas to not include in her formula or even mention in her press conference earlier today any, 'final status' issues (id est, return of refugees, East Jerusalem, borders of the two states, et cetera). And, indeed one may only regret that she did not have the nerve or the courage to show determined support for the Arab Summit's Peace Plan. Because make no mistake, Israeli, will never obtain, de jure, better terms than those embodied in the 2002 Peace Plan. To believe anything else is a chimera. And, now more than ever, positive movement is needed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Positive movement being only possible if the United States, so desires to resolve the issue at last. Such resolution, being measurable by the utilization of coercive diplomacy, vis-`a-vis its Israeli client. Without any such diplomatic coercion, all the huffing and the puffing by the Quartet, and, Rice herself, will avail nothing, rien, nada, zero, I am afraid.If, there is one lesson to be learned in Near Eastern diplomacy of the last sixty years, it is that left to themselves, the Israelis, will use or attempt to use, their superior position (based upon various factors to complicated to set out herein), to attack, frustrate and general make gains, at the expense of its neighbors. With the end result that region because ever more inflamed and unstable. As a commentator, for the online journal, Bitter Lemons, recently remarked in this vein:

"Israel has been pursuing policies that only strengthen Iran's regional influence at the expense of the Saudis and other Arabs. Through its strategic failure in Lebanon last summer, its disdain for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' overtures, the miserable life it is imposing on the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza under the pretext of security and the need to boycott Hamas, Israel has almost succeeded in making Iran the main protector of the latter". Camille Mansour in http://www.dailystar.com.lb

A state of affairs which must be reversed and soon, if only to prevent the entire
region from falling into an abyss, which soon may become irretrievable.


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